It’s Thursday, December 16th - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - A man who was arrested in connection with a mass shooting at a northwest Miami-Dade banquet hall that left three people dead and 20 injured back in May is no longer facing charges after prosecutors said he was interrogated by detectives after he'd asked for an attorney.
Warneric Buckner, 20, was arrested in October on three counts of first-degree murder and 20 counts of attempted first-degree murder for the May 30 shooting outside the El Mula Banquet Hall. According to a Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office memo released Wednesday, Buckner had given a statement to detectives implicating himself and other gunmen in the shooting, but when prosecutors reviewed the recorded statement, it was determined Miami-Dade Police detectives continued to interrogate him after he'd invoked his right to counsel. The memo said that without Buckner's statement, there is currently insufficient evidence to prove the case against him beyond a reasonable doubt.
No. 2 - A small plane attempting to land minutes after beginning a flight to Florida crashed in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, killing all nine people aboard, including Puerto Rican music producer José Ángel Hernández, the aircraft's operating company reported.
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Helidosa Aviation Group said on its Twitter account that the Gulfstream jet was carrying two crew members and seven passengers. The plane had departed from El Higüero airport for Orlando, Florida, shortly before seeking to land at Las Americas International Airport in the Dominican Republic's capital, Santo Domingo, the company said. The company gave no details on why the pilots aborted the flight or possible causes of the crash. The airport shut down operations after the accident, canceling hundreds of flights.
No. 3 - A South Florida man who allegedly opened fire on someone he thought was trying to get into his apartment is facing an attempted murder charge, but his fiancée and attorney said he was protecting his family.
Joshua Rivera was arrested last month on charges including attempted felony murder, aggravated assault with a firearm and misuse of a firearm. Rivera, 30, remains behind bars without bond, but his family believes the wrong man was charged in the altercation at their Homestead apartment. Rivera's fiancée, Kasandra Bejarano, said their children believe Rivera is working out of state because she can't explain to them what happened. Click here for what she said really took place in a story from NBC 6 investigator Willard Shepard you’ll see Only on 6.
No. 4 - Samuel Little, the nation's most prolific serial killer, confessed to murdering 93 people. In hopes of bringing closure to the 31 unsolved cases, the Texas Rangers, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program and the United States Department of Justice are releasing new details from Little's confessions.
According to the FBI, Samuel Little came to South Florida in the 1970s to visit his mother who was living in Miami. Little admitted he killed eight people in South Florida alone. Three of the victims remain unidentified. In 1971 or 1972 while at a bar called the “Pool Palace” near 17th Avenue, Little says he met an 18 or 19-year-old man who dressed as a woman named Marianne. Little told Texas Ranger James Holland that Marianne lived in Brownsville with a cross-dresser. He confessed to choking Marianne to death in his car and then dragging her body into a swamp in the Everglades. Click here for what else he confessed to in a report from NBC 6’s Laura Rodriguez.
No. 5 - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has introduced the "Stop W.O.K.E. Act" that takes aim against critical race theory in schools and corporations.
DeSantis unveiled the proposed legislation at a news conference in Wildwood Wednesday, calling it the strongest legislation of its kind in the nation. The legislation would codify the state's Department of Education prohibition on teaching critical race theory in K-12 schools and prohibit school districts, colleges and universities "from hiring woke CRT consultants." The act also would protect employees "against a hostile work environment due to critical race theory." The theory is a framework legal scholars developed in the 1970s and 1980s that centers on the view that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions and serves to maintain the dominance of whites in society.
No. 6 - A Florida grand jury issued a lengthy list of recommendations Wednesday aimed at preventing another condominium collapse like the one that killed 98 people in Surfside back in June, including earlier and more frequent inspections and better waterproofing.
In its report on the Surfside collapse, the Miami-Dade County Grand Jury called on state and local officials to require condominium towers to have an initial recertification inspection by an engineer between 10 and 15 years after their construction and every 10 years thereafter. Currently, Miami-Dade and neighboring Broward County require inspections at 40 years. Other Florida counties have no requirement. Champlain Towers South, built in 1981, collapsed June 24 as its 40-year recertification was due. No cause of the collapse has been determined, but records show the building had significant structural damage in its underground parking garage.