It’s Thursday, March 31st - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - A brush fire that scorched hundreds of acres in southwest Miami-Dade continued to burn for a second day Wednesday.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded to the fire after 4 p.m. Tuesday near SW 137th Avenue and 8th Street, near residences and businesses, just west of Florida International University. The fire has burned about 380 acres as of Wednesday evening. It is contained and does not pose any current threat to any surrounding areas or structures, but officials say the containment is down to 40 percent after being as high as 70 percent on Wednesday. Brush fires are more likely to occur amid high winds and dry conditions. Officials reminded residents to keep windows and doors closed and run air conditioners if there is a fire in the area. The Florida Forest Service joined Miami-Dade Fire in its firefighting efforts.
No. 2 - Newly released video shows an alleged hitman counting stacks of cash shortly after he's accused of gunning down a Transportation Security Administration agent outside her southwest Miami-Dade apartment last year.
"Another day in the office," Javon Carter says in the brief video as he flips through the $100 and $20 bills. The video was released by Miami-Dade prosecutors Wednesday and is part of the case against Carter and two others arrested in what authorities said was a murder-for-hire plot financed through a federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. The victim, 24-year-old Le'Shonte Jones, was shot and killed in broad daylight on May 3, 2021, outside the Coral Bay Cove apartments. Her 3-year-old daughter was also struck and injured by the gunfire. Carter, 29, Romiel Robinson, 35, and Jasmine Martinez, 33, all face first-degree murder charges in her killing.
No. 3 - A woman is speaking out after she and her dog were attacked by another dog outside her North Miami apartment building in a frightening encounter that was caught on camera.
Lauren Wion said she was taking her dachshund Louie to the dog park at her complex Sunday when she was warned by another dog owner that her pet was "bipolar." The other dog, which was leashed to the fence, suddenly broke free from its collar and charged at Wion and Louie. Wion said the 30 seconds she spent fighting off the other dog and clinging to Louie felt like five minutes. Wion believes the dog that attacked them is a pit bull mix, roughly 50 pounds heavier than Louie, but she said it's not about the dog but about the owner.
No. 4 - People who lost their homes in the Surfside condominium collapse are a giant step closer to being compensated for their losses.
A judge ruled Wednesday that people who owned units at the Champlain Towers South will divide $83 million for property losses. The compensation for families over the 98 deaths is still to be determined. “It gives them certainty. These people need certainty and they need to carry on,” Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman said before approving the deal at a hearing. “Maybe it's not 100% of value, but it's pretty close. I think it's an outstanding result.” The arrangement will see owners compensated based on the size of their units and the value of the contents inside. Wednesday's hearing saw a difference of opinions, with some arguing to the judge that people who lost relatives should receive more money compared to those who lost property.
No. 5 - Authorities in South Florida are warning residents about a new scam that has drivers receiving fake red-light tickets in the mail.
Doral Police officials warned residents about the new scam on Wednesday. According to police, the scammers appear to be taking photos of peoples' vehicles outside their homes. The scammers edit the photo to show just the license plate, which they include in the fake ticket. The tickets look like standard red-light tickets with "FINAL NOTICE" in big bold letters and threats of "SUSPENDED LICENSE" in red letters, and direct drivers to a website to pay their fine, police said. Lauderhill Police officials said they've received at least four reports of fake tickets but are looking for other possible victims. Click here for more in a report from NBC 6’s Alyssa Hyman.
No. 6 - The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences said that Will Smith was asked to leave Sunday's Oscars after hitting Chris Rock but refused.
Many have questioned why Smith was allowed to remain seated front row at the Academy Awards after the incident. On Wednesday, the academy suggested that it attempted to remove the actor from the audience. The academy's board of governors met Wednesday to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Smith for violations against the group's standards of conduct. Rock briefly addressed being slapped by Will Smith at the Oscars Sunday during his show Wednesday at The Wilbur Theatre in Boston. After a standing ovation that lasted minutes, Rock asked the roaring crowd, "how was your weekend?" and said he was still "processing what happened" at the Academy Awards.