<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - South Florida News]]>Copyright 2018https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida https://www.nbcmiami.comen-usFri, 25 May 2018 20:27:02 -0400Fri, 25 May 2018 20:27:02 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[AAA Offers Free Tows for Memorial Day Weekend]]> Fri, 25 May 2018 17:40:14 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AAA+tow+truck+generic+road+side.jpg

It’s no secret that a long holiday weekend increases the chances of drinking and driving, but AAA is once again working to keep impaired drivers off the road in Florida.

This Memorial Day Weekend, AAA and Budweiser are partnering up to provide a free safe-ride "Tow to Go" service for members and non-members.

Their initiative is to prevent impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel, risking their lives and others. The Memorial Day Safe Ride Program is statewide and begins Friday, May 25 and ends Tuesday, May 29 at 6 a.m.

The number to call is 855-2-TOW-2-GO or 855-286-9246.

Here are a few important "Tow to Go" guidelines:

• Tow trucks can usually transport up to two people. If there are more people in your party, you will need to make other arrangements to get them home safely.

• You can’t make an appointment to use Tow to Go. It is designed as a safety net for those that did not plan ahead. Always choose a Designated Driver before you have your first drink.

• In some situations, AAA may need to make other arrangements to get an impaired individual a safe ride home.

• Tow to Go may not be available in rural areas or during severe weather conditions.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gun Fired During Fight at Pembroke Lakes Mall's Sears Store]]> Fri, 25 May 2018 17:56:19 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/052518+shooting+sears+pembroke+lakes+mall.jpg

A person sustained minor injuries after a gun was fired during a fight at the Sears in Pembroke Lakes Mall, according to the Pembroke Pines Police Department.

Two "known subjects" fought on Friday before one discharged a firearm, PPPD said. The suspect fled the scene.

The mall remains open but Sears was temporarily closed.

Please check back with NBC 6 for updates to this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Miami Woman Accused in Fake Landlord Scam Faces New Charges]]> Fri, 25 May 2018 19:00:45 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/215*120/051110+rental+scam+warning+fixing+andrew+work.PNG

The suspect accused of posing as a landlord to scam people out of thousands of dollars through fake security deposits is facing more charges as additional victims came forward.

Julia Del Rosario is facing new charges of organized fraud of $20,000 or less and grand theft in the third degree.

Del Rosario was arrested in early May. Miami Police Department spokesperson Kenia Fallat then said Julia Del Rosario was able to play the role of landlord because she had access to the home as a tenant before she moved out.

In her alleged scheme, Del Rosario pretended to be a woman named Nancy Abreu who was the landlord in posts on the real estate website Zillow.

Sahimira Parra, one of Del Rosario's alleged victims, said she was scammed out of a $1,800 deposit.

Parra said she gave who she thought was the landlord cash and that she even received a receipt.

However, days before the agreed move-in date, all victims received a similar text message from Del Rosario's phone. The message said Abreu, the counterfeit landlord, was killed in a car accident the day before.

<![CDATA[Fort Lauderdale Cancels Great American Beach Party]]> Fri, 25 May 2018 13:35:16 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/052518+great+american+beach+party.jpg

This weekend's rainy forecast due to Subtropical Storm Alberto has canceled Fort Lauderdale's Great American Beach Party, city officials said.

The free event was scheduled for Saturday and was expected to feature country music star Lee Greenwood along with other musical acts plus a vintage car show, family activities and a sand sculpting contest.

It's unknown if the event will be rescheduled.

<![CDATA[Booze Bandit Armed With Knife Robs Miami Liquor Store: Cops]]> Fri, 25 May 2018 13:37:30 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/052518+miami+liquor+store+robbery.jpg

Police are searching for a man who stole cases of liquor from a Miami store at knifepoint, after his alleged getaway driver was arrested.

The robbery happened Monday night at Jensen's Liquors on Southwest 27th Avenue when the suspect, posing as a customer, loaded a shopping cart with the cases of liquor and passed the store clerk without paying, Miami Police said.

The man threatened the clerk and pointed a knife at him while demanding he open the locked front door, police said. The robber loaded the stolen liquor into a waiting car and fled the scene with a driver, police said.

Police said the value of the stolen liquor was about $1,700.

The getaway driver, identified as 31-year-old Antoinette Burnes, was later arrested and the stolen car they used was recovered, police said.

Detectives are still searching for the suspect, who is about 5-foot-8 or 5-foot-9, 140 to 150 pounds with a full beard and was wearing a back support brace. Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

Photo Credit: Miami Police]]>
<![CDATA[Anti-NRA, Gun Violence 'Die-In' Protest at Publix]]> Fri, 25 May 2018 16:36:27 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/052518+Publix+5.png Protests were held on Friday at Publix locations against the company's support of political candidates endorsed by the National Rifle Association who oppose gun reform. The demonstrations were largely organized by student activists who survived the Parkland school shooting on Feb. 14.]]> <![CDATA[Child Hurt While Playing With Fireworks Hospitalized: MDPD]]> Fri, 25 May 2018 18:58:44 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/052518+child+airlifted+kendall+regional+sw+miami-dade.jpg

A child who was injured while playing with fireworks at an apartment complex in southwest Miami-Dade was airlifted to a local hospital Friday, officials said.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials said the incident happened at the complex at 10875 Southwest 216th Street. 

Miami-Dade Police confirmed the child was playing with fireworks at the time of the incident.

The child was airlifted to Kendall Regional Hospital as a trauma alert. The child's exact injuries were unknown.

Residents of the complex said the child is a boy around nine years old. One neighbor said his hand appeared to be badly hurt.

"The hand almost was gone, like practically off," Tenika Lee said. Like blood everywhere...cause the mom thought he was going to bleed to death."

Check back with NBC 6 for updates.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Cuba Plane Crash Victim Dies, Brings Death Toll to 112]]> Fri, 25 May 2018 09:00:38 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/190*120/051818+cuba+plane+3.jpg

One of the two last survivors of the Cuban plane crash last week has died at a hospital in Havana.

Emiley Sánchez de la O, 40, died Friday from severe trauma and burns she suffered, according to the official Cuban website Cubadebate.

Three women had initially survived the accident, but only one remains alive at the General Calixto García hospital in the Cuban capital.

A Boeing 737 leased by Cubana de Aviación crashed last Friday shortly after taking off from José Martí International Airport carrying 113 people onboard - including nearly two dozen pastors.

<![CDATA[MSD Survivors Hold Publix 'Die-In' Over Campaign Donations]]> Fri, 25 May 2018 20:15:11 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/052518+publix+die-in+david+hogg.jpg

On Friday, survivors of the Parkland school shooting protested Publix over the company's donations to politicians - including one top name in the 2018 race for Governor of Florida - that have been endorsed by the National Rifle Association or those who have not been supportive of the gun control movement.

One of the leading voices in the movement, David Hogg, called for the "die-in" protests Friday afternoon inside Publix.

Hogg and around two dozen protesters laid down in one Coral Springs store with the aim of disrupting business. Hogg spoke through a megaphone as pro-Publix and pro-NRA counterprotesters stood nearby.

Some customers walked around the group to pick up items for purchase. The protest lasted for about 12 minutes. Hogg said the 720 seconds represent the number of school shootings in recent history.

The protests started before 6 a.m., when Hogg, parent Manuel Oliver - who lost his son Joaquin in the shooting - were joined by others in drawing 17 chalk outlines of bodies in the parking lot of one location in Coral Springs ahead of the store's opening - one for each of the victims who died at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14th.

"This is actually what really happened in Parkland, we lost 17 persons," said Oliver. "One of them was my son. So every time we can show this and make statements out of it, we will do it."

They are protesting Publix’s donations to conservative gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam, who is pro NRA and anti-LGBTQ, according to the ACLU and the HRC, based on his voting record. 

“Publix can stand with us. They can pull out their half million dollars from Putnam's campaign and they can double that amount and donate it to the Stoneman Douglas victims fund,” said Hogg.

The protest went on as scheduled despite a statement by Publix that they were suspending corporate-funded political contributions.

"At Publix, we respect the students and members of the community who have chosen to express their voices on these issues. We regret that our contributions have led to a divide in our community," Publix's statement read. "We did not intend to put our associates and the customers they serve in the middle of a political debate. At the same time, we remain committed to maintaining a welcoming shopping environment for our customers."

Hogg spoke with several people who came out against the group's actions, with both sides having a peaceful debate.

"From talking to him, I have seen his side and I do agree that mental health is an issue that he’s really pushing and that it’s not about taking away guns from everybody," said Tim Martin, a Republican voter.

"As American citizens, we can sit down and understand that we have disagreements but we can work towards, for example, behavioral health programs," said Hogg.

“I’m not afraid of big corporations and David is not either,” said Oliver. “There’s a big group of people that represent one of the biggest corporations ever and it’s us. And it’s 97 percent of the nation right now.” 

Some customers said Publix is not the enemy.

"Publix has a right to contribute to whomever they want to contribute to," said shopper Patrick Johnson. "As a Republican, as a Democrat, as an independent, everyone has that right!"

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Hialeah Couple Operated Fake Vet Practice: Police]]> Fri, 25 May 2018 18:31:49 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/052518+Jose+Alvarez-Marrero+Sophia+Gonzalez.jpg

A South Florida woman was arrested and police are searching for a man after police say they posed as veterinarians, and left one person’s dog dead.

According to police, Jose Alvarez-Marrero and his girlfriend Sophia Gonzalez were operating an unlicensed veterinary clinic out of their home in Hialeah.

The victim, Omarnestor Delrio, told police that he took his 12-year-old American Bulldog named Royalty to Marrero to have a procedure performed. Delrio said that after the procedure, he returned to Marrero for help on several occasions after noticing that Royalty was not recovering from the operation.

Delrio eventually went to a credible veterinary clinic, but it was too late. Royalty died from complications resulting from an unsterile surgical procedure.

"I lost my dog that I had for 12 years," said Delrio.

Gonzalez, 40, was arrested and charged with practicing veterinary medicine without a license and animal cruelty. Marrero, 58, was not home when Gonzalez was arrested. However, he spoke with detectives over the phone and said he was on his way home to speak with them, but never arrived. He remains at-large.

Anyone with information on Marrero’s whereabouts are urged to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

Photo Credit: Hialeah Police]]>
<![CDATA[Florida Theme Parks Offer Free Admission to Military Vets]]> Thu, 24 May 2018 23:53:38 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/busch+gardens+sign.jpg

Busch Gardens and SeaWorld are offering free admission for military veterans and their families through the Fourth of July.

Veterans and retirees, along with three dependents, will get free admission to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and SeaWorld Orlando, between now and the Fourth of July.

The theme parks are joining the ongoing nationwide program ‘Waves of Honor,’ which gives complimentary theme park tickets to any active duty U.S. military member.

To redeem tickets, click here.

<![CDATA[Man Robbed Two Brickell Banks Within Minutes: FBI]]> Thu, 24 May 2018 17:38:50 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/052418+brickell+bank+robbery+suspect+new.jpg

Authorities are searching for a man who robbed two Brickell banks within a matter of minutes Thursday afternoon.

The FBI said the man robbed the TD Bank at 1103 Brickell Avenue just before 3 p.m. The amount of money taken wasn't released.

Minutes earlier the same suspect robbed the BB&T Bank just down the street at 1200 Brickell Avenue, officials said.

Photos released by the FBI showed the heavyset man who is believed to be between 50 and 60 years old in the banks during the robberies.

Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 754-703-2000.

Photo Credit: FBI]]>
<![CDATA[One Dead, Another Injured Following Shooting in Opa-Locka]]> Thu, 24 May 2018 23:40:23 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/216*120/052418+opalocka+shooting.jpg

A shooting in Opa-Locka left one person dead and sent another to the hospital Thursday night, police said.

According to police, officers responded to a call of two people shot at Northwest 143rd Street and Northwest 23rd Place.

When police arrived, they found that one man was dead on the scene and the other had to be taken to the hospital. His condition is unclear.

It’s unclear who shot the men or if police are pursuing any suspects at this time. 

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is made available. 

<![CDATA[Things To Do This Rainy Memorial Day Weekend]]> Fri, 25 May 2018 05:54:32 -0400 click here.]]> click here.]]> https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Things+to+do+South+Florida+rainy+weather++%286%29.jpg There is an 80% chance of rain this holiday weekend. Here are some indoor options to spend your weekend. ]]> <![CDATA[Medical Malpractice Complaint in Brazilian Butt Lift Death]]> Thu, 24 May 2018 23:54:38 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Heather-Meadows.jpg

Two years after Heather Meadows died following a Brazilian Butt Lift in Miami, the Florida Department of Health has filed a complaint against the doctor who performed the procedure. The complaint alleges Dr. James McAdoo committed medical malpractice.

In May 2016, Meadows traveled from her home in West Virginia to Encore Plastic Surgery in South Florida to undergo the popular cosmetic procedure. Her friends and family members told NBC 6 Investigators the mother of two found the clinic online and chose it due to the affordable price.

"This is something she wanted to do for herself, to make herself feel better,' said Meadows' longtime friend Suzanna Wilson. Meadows had given birth to her second child two months before the procedure.

"She was scared. This was her first surgery ever in life," said Wilson. "She asked me to pray for her and she told me that she loved me, those were her last words."

The medical examiner’s report shows Meadows died of a fat embolism. That’s when a piece of fat gets into a vein, travels to the lungs and causes a patient to stop breathing.

The NBC 6 Investigators found it’s what has killed at least eight mothers in South Florida in the past five years. The women all had different doctors and went to different clinics. 

The Florida Department of Health has filed a medical malpractice complaint against James McAdoo.

The administrative complaint in Meadows’s case claims Dr. McAdoo failed to perform a complete physical exam before surgery, didn’t slowly and carefully inject fat into Meadows’ body and hit a deep vein in her backside.

The complaint also lists the time frame between when Meadows gave birth prior to her procedure. The Department of Health says patients are supposed to wait at least three months.

Dr. McAdoo is one of two South Florida plastic surgeons the state has taken action against.

Dr. Osak Omulepu had his license revoked after two of his patients had their internal organs punctured during Brazilian Butt Lift operations and another patient died in June of 2017. He’s currently appealing the revocation with Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeals. 

"I want this to stop, we want to save the next woman’s life," said Wilson.

The clinic where it happened, Encore Plastic Surgery, has since shut down. But Dr. McAdoo is still practicing. His attorney reacted to the complaint in a statement to NBC 6:

"Due to issues of patient privacy, Dr. McAdoo cannot comment publicly on the allegations contained within the Administrative Complaint filed by the Department of Health. Dr. McAdoo does not agree with the allegations contained within the Complaint, and fully intends to contest these issues through the appropriate administrative process."

If the doctor formally disputes the allegations, a hearing will be held to determine whether or not he was at fault and what, if any, disciplinary action he could receive.

The Meadows family settled a civil lawsuit against Dr. McAdoo and is currently suing the facility where it happened. An attorney for the owner told NBC 6 Investigators they have "no comment about the case."

<![CDATA[Body Cam Shows Delray Beach Cops Rescue Kids From Ledge]]> Thu, 24 May 2018 15:07:50 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/052418+delray+beach+woman+kids+on+ledge+police+body+cam.jpg

Dramatic police body camera footage showed officers rescuing a woman and two young children from the edge of the roof of a Delray Beach home.

Police said the 23-year-old woman was hallucinating as she and the children stood on the ledge of the townhome's roof Saturday.

When officers responded the woman was heard telling them that their badges weren't real.

Officers were able to get them all down safely but the woman was taken to a mental health facility to undergo evaluation.

Photo Credit: Delray Beach Police]]>
<![CDATA['Misunderstanding' Led to Lockdown of Broward School: BSO]]> Thu, 24 May 2018 19:51:16 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/052418+SWAT+team+at+Blanche+Ely+High+School+in+Pompano+Beach.jpg

A "misunderstanding" over a reported trespasser who turned out to be a student led to a lockdown and massive police response at a Pompano Beach high school Thursday afternoon.

Officers swarmed Blanche Ely High School on Northwest 6th Avenue after Broward Sheriff’s Office officials say they received a call of a man trespassing on school grounds.

Footage showed SWAT team members walking through the school's parking lot with weapons drawn.

Officials said the person who allegedly trespassed was found and was identified as a student.

The school was placed on lockdown but the lockdown was later lifted.

"They said 'code red' and everybody took off to the gym," junior Keavan Walker said. "I was scared for my life."

Stay tuned to NBC 6 on air and online for updates

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Man Who Took 40 Cats to Shelter Charged With Animal Cruelty]]> Thu, 24 May 2018 13:09:11 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/052418+Patrick+Francis+Franey+cats.jpg

A South Florida man is facing animal cruelty charges after authorities say he dropped off 40 cats suffering from a variety of medical issues at an animal shelter which had to euthanize several of the pets.

Patrick Francis Franey, 60, was taken into custody Tuesday on 40 criminal charges after he dropped the cats off at the Marathon Animal Shelter in February, Monroe County State Attorney's Office officials said.

Authorities said Franey, of Homestead, called the shelter and said he was being evicted and could no longer care for the cats. The shelter thought he was talking about two cats but when he arrived at the shelter he had 40 cats.

Shelter staffers and veterinarian found the cats were soaked with urine or had matted hair due to feces, were emaciated and dehydrated, and most were scratching and shaking. Many had significant medical issues including growing tumors in the mouths, fecal and urine scalding, severe untreated fight wounds and pneumonia, investigators said.

"One cat, near death, was collapsed in its own urine in a milk crate," an investigator wrote in a report. Three cats were missing eyes and several had open words or missing hair. Investigators said it appeared the cats were confined, kept to one location and kept without litter boxes.

Seven of the cats had to be euthanized, four due to medical issues and three “due to aggression as a result of lack of human contact," investigators said. Most of the cats were treated for a number of issues, and only four or five needed no medical attention, officials said.

Franey's bond was set at $64,000. Attorney information wasn't available.

Five of the cats have been adopted but 28 are still at the shelter. Anyone who wants to adopt the cats can call 305-743-4800.

Photo Credit: Monroe County Sheriff's Office, Monroe County State Attorney's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Women Allegedly Assaulted Man Over Child Support: Police]]> Thu, 24 May 2018 17:23:36 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/052418+Milagros+Tiel+and+Daysi+Fernandez+mugshot.jpg

Two Miami-Dade women are behind bars after police say they assaulted a man following an argument over child support.

Milagros Tiel and Daysi Fernandez were arrested Wednesday afternoon and booked on several charges stemming from the December 2017 incident. The 26-year-old Tiel is being held on two counts, including burglary with assault while the 29-year-old Fernandez has being held on four counts that include armed burglary and armed robbery.

According to a police report, both women – who police say are in a current relationship – arrived at the victim’s home off NW 59th Terrace and 3rd Avenue after Tiel, who is the mother of the victim’s child, and the man argued over child support payments.

Police say the couple broke the victim’s wall air conditioning unit before entering the home, with Fernandez allegedly pointing a machete at the victim's head. The two women later began ransacking the house before both started punching and slapping the victim, according to the report.

Investigators say Fernandez later broke the victim’s phone and tried to take his wallet before fleeing the scene. Police later captured both women, with Tiel telling officers both of them were at the home while Fernandez denied being there.

Both women are being held on no bond due to the burglary charges.

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[South Florida Volunteers Taking Part in Red Nose Day]]> Thu, 24 May 2018 11:58:33 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/South_Florida_Volunteers_Taking_Part_in_Red_Nose_Day.jpg

NBC 6's Andrea Cruz shows out people in our area are helping children in need.

<![CDATA[Key Biscayne Firefighter Hurt in Blaze Out of Hospital]]> Thu, 24 May 2018 10:02:29 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/052418+key+biscayne+fire+fighter+hurt.PNG

A Key Biscayne firefighter was released after being hospitalized following an early morning blaze inside a strip mall.

Officials say the fire broke out inside the complex at 951 Crandon Boulevard before 1:30 a.m. Thursday, saying it appears to have started as an electrical issue above two units. A total of six units were damaged by fire on the roof, smoke or water as a result.

Nearly three dozen firefighters responded to deal with the blaze, with one being taken to Ryder Trauma Center with minor, undisclosed injuries and later released.

<![CDATA[SWAG on 6: Harold Sarmiento]]> Fri, 25 May 2018 20:02:59 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/217*120/052518+swag+on+6.png

Walk into the band room at Northeast High School in Oakland Park, and there’s a good chance you’ll find Harold Sarmiento practicing on his trumpet.

The band director says this junior from Colombia has become a near-virtuoso player. Harold says being part of the marching band is his passion.

“The band is like a family to me,” Harold said.

His other school family is a group of students he leads on the InvenTeam. The kids are designing and building a device to fight the zika virus.

“My friends and I started brainstorming ideas of how we can help our community,” Harold explained. “So we thought about creating a mosquito disrupter that vibrates on the surface of the water and prevents reproduction,”

Their proposal won a prestigious Lemelson-MIT Eurekafest grant. The team from Northeast High will present its work to a panel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology next month.

“They chose 15 high schools from all over the country so the fact that we’re one of them is an amazing honor,” Harold said.

Harold has come a long way, geographically, educationally, and socially. When his family moved to the United States, Harold knew zero English. He started learning the language in fifth grade. 

“When I first came to the country everything was new, the culture, the language, I wasn’t able to have any friends,” said Harold, describing a familiar situation for immigrants.

He overcame that barrier, then last year, a severe thyroid issue which required surgery set him back.

His classmates saw the obstacles and recognize a fighter when they see one. Harold just may be the most admired student on campus, and definitely among the sharpest.

“Very, very, very fast mind, and while you’re speaking to him, you can see it in his eyes, like he’s already 10 steps, 20 steps ahead of you,” said Clara Mabour, Harold’s science teacher and supervisor of the InvenTeam.

Harold is one of those kids who’s just not comfortable talking about himself. His peers, however, are happy to tell you how impressive he is. They say Harold represents a type of role model they aspire to become.

“I think they have perseverance, amazing perseverance, and they really know what they want to achieve, they know how to get to it,” said senior Coleen Sailsman, who is heading to UF in the fall and says Harold’s destined to go “amazing places!”

Sophomore Halle Shelton says Harold brings everyone’s morale up.

“His positive attitude, the way he goes about life, whenever something goes wrong, instead of being like, oh my God and panicking, he takes a deep breath, assesses the situation and just pulls through,” Halle said. “It’s a really admirable quality.”

Harold says adversity doesn’t last forever, which is his message to any students facing obstacles in their path.

“Just keep working because you’re gonna be awesome at the end,” Harold said.

Sound advice, and who knows, you may even learn to toot your own horn. 

<![CDATA[No Shorter Sentence for Gunman in Sean Taylor Killing: Judge]]> Thu, 24 May 2018 09:55:40 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/052318+sean+taylor+eric+rivera.jpg

The man who killed former NFL and University of Miami star Sean Taylor in his Palmetto Bay home during a 2007 burglary won't have his prison sentence cut short, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Eric Rivera, who was 17 at the time of the killing, was back in court Wednesday seeking to have his 57-year sentence reduced. Rivera, who says he was young and dumb at the time of the murder, was supported by family members who testified on his behalf at the hearing.

"A 57-year sentence, I don’t think it’s equal justice in our justice system and that’s just my personal opinion on something that was an accident," mother Anisha Rivera said.

Taylor, 24, a Pro Bowl safety for the Washington Redskins and former Hurricanes star, died from the injuries he received in the botched invasion of his home in November 2007.

Rivera admitted he brought a crowbar from his home to force open doors in Taylor's house. He and four other young men drove from Fort Myers to rob the home, thinking no one was there. But Taylor, his girlfriend, Jackie Garcia, and their 18-month-old daughter were inside the master bedroom.

In court Wednesday, Garcia broke down when prosecutors read her victim impact letter out loud. Also in court were the detectives that worked the homicide case ten years ago.

After almost four hours of testimony, Judge Dennis Murphy didn't budge, leaving the sentence at 57 years.

"Based upon everything that’s been presented to me and my full knowledge of this case, of the co-defendants, I am denying the motion to reduce the sentence and keeping the sentence at 57 and a half years," Murphy said.

"We are satisfied with the court’s decision in this case, we think that it is the correct decision," prosecutor Reed Rubin said.

Rivera will stay in prison for at least the next 15 years, until his case comes up for review.

"He's the only defendant sentenced to 57 years and that is not fair justice, I think the judge was biased," Anisha Rivera said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, Miami-Dade Corrections]]>
<![CDATA[Immigrant Children Face a Judge Without an Attorney]]> Thu, 24 May 2018 00:12:46 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/arlin+escobar+and+brother.jpg

Arlin Escobar was 16 and her brother was 9 when they escaped gang violence in El Salvador.

She remembers travelling by land to get to the US to reunite with their mother who was already living in South Florida.

She says their journey was difficult.

“We had to sleep near the river because there was no other place,” she recalled. “It was abandoned places where we had to stay.”

When they made it to Texas in 2014, they spent two weeks in a detention center she calls “the freezer” because of how cold it was.

“The conditions were bad,” Arlin said. “They would only give us aluminum to cover ourselves and it was freezing still. My brother, he got really bad. He wouldn’t eat, he would just be crying all day.”

In time, Arlin and her brother were reunited with their mother on the condition they would appear in court to face charges for entering the country illegally.

“We were in front of the judge, we didn’t know what he was saying,” she said. “We didn’t have a lawyer so we had to go by ourselves.”

Arlin and her brother had no lawyer because they couldn’t afford one and in immigration cases, the government isn’t required to provide them one. Like traffic court, immigration proceedings are civil and no attorney is required. You can bring your own if you can afford it.

“I’ve seen many unaccompanied children in court,” said Elina Santana, an immigration attorney. “Unfortunately it’s just an everyday occurrence down here.”

She says she’s seen kids as young as five go before an immigration judge alone.

“They really have no idea what’s going on,” she said.

Between July 2014 and January 2017, the Department of Justice kept track of kids under the care of the Unaccompanied Children’s Program.

They reported 44,295 children in the program. 35 percent did not have attorneys representing them.

Another group that tracks immigration trends finds the percentage is higher when you take into account all of the unaccompanied children who have made it into the country.

According to data collected by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) of the 285,874 children who have entered alone, 51 percent were unrepresented in immigration court.

The advocacy group, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) says children without legal representation are five times more likely to be deported. 

“There should be a public defender system for children,” said Kristie-Ann Padrón, an attorney with Catholic Charities, a nonprofit that took Arlin and her brother’s case for free. “They are not legally competent to sign a contract. How could they be expected to represent themselves in court?”

Padrón says, if deported, some of the children have nothing to go back to.

“Some were suffering from gang violence’” she said.

With the help of Catholic Charities, Arlin and her brother won their asylum case.

Three years have passed, he’s an honors student in high school. Arlin has learned English and works as a supervisor at a movie theatre while she gets her degree.

“I’m doing mechanical engineering and I want to work with the NASA,” Arlin said.

The NBC6 Investigators spent time in immigration court. We spoke with several kids who were facing a Miami judge alone without representation. They told us in Spanish that they fear being deported back.

Most immigration judges we saw in Miami tried to get unaccompanied minors help with non-profit attorneys but those organizations say there just isn’t enough free legal aid to meet the demand.

They say they are always looking for attorneys willing to donate their services.

<![CDATA[Man Accused of Trying to Kidnap 4 Kids at Broward School]]> Thu, 24 May 2018 19:50:43 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/052318+milo+michel.jpg

A man was arrested in Deerfield Beach for allegedly trying to kidnap four children from an elementary school.

According to Broward Sheriff’s Deputies, Milor Michel, 27, was arrested Wednesday after he walked onto the campus of Park Ridge Elementary on Northwest 9th Avenue and started accosting children in the school's parking lot.

A student told a teacher, who then went to the parking lot, where she saw Michel pulling a child by the arm toward the lot's exit, officials said.

She yelled for him to stop and notified law enforcement. Deputies responded and took Michel into custody.

Michel was arrested and charged with four counts of kidnapping-false imprisonment and one count of trespassing.

In bond court Thursday, Michel denied the allegations.

"I dropped off my little cousin and when I was walking off campus a teacher walked behind me and said 'please get off campus,'" he said. "When you guys review the tapes you will see I had no child by the hand."

Michel was being held without bond Thursday and attorney information wasn't available.

<![CDATA[Instacart Service Charge: Do You Know What You're Paying For]]> Wed, 23 May 2018 20:51:58 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Instacart-Hero.jpg

Many of us have crossed grocery shopping off our to-do lists, and we're hiring someone else to do it for us. But some say a popular grocery delivery service is misleading consumers and cheating its employees.

Instacart is a popular grocery shopping and delivery service. There's a fee to use it, which is clearly disclosed. But there's another fee many consumers pay, and they say Instacart isn't so upfront about that one.

Georgia Pine orders her groceries using the Instacart app on her iPad. And a few hours later, they’re delivered to her doorstep.

It's a service she likes and relies on. But she's also ticked off at Instacart.

"I really feel they need to value both their employees and customers a little more,” Pine said.

The issue was a 10 percent “service fee" added at check-out. Pine assumed it was a tip for the shoppers and delivery people.

"People who do read that and see it, say, ‘oh that's the tip,’” she said.

But it's not. Instacart employees told Pine they don't see that money.

"They were angry, because they weren't getting tips,” she said.

As NBC Los Angeles reported, Instacart employees complained, too.

"We've all been wondering where that money's going. Because we're not getting it," Sergio Betancourt Jr., an Instacart delivery person.

NBC LA wanted to talk to Instacart on camera, but after repeated requests, the company wouldn't schedule an interview.

But, in an email Instacart confirmed the service fee is not a tip, saying: “It can be used for shopper wages, customer support and operational expenses.”

Attorney Julie Erickson has an issue with that. She filed a class action lawsuit against Instacart, saying the company was misleading consumers, who assume the service fee is going to the shopper who's picking up their groceries.

"What they thought they were leaving as a tip was actually not reaching the shopper, it was going in Instacart's pocket,” Erickson said.

Erickson reached a settlement with Instacart. The company agreed to modify its website and app — making it clear to consumers where the service fee money goes.

"The goal is two-fold. First, hopefully the shoppers will see their take home income go back up,” she said. “And two, the customers know where their money is going."

Pine is happy to see the changes.

"They need to explain to their customers — exactly where this 10 percent is going. And to their employees,” she said.

Instacart says it has completely changed its service fee and tipping functions on its website and smartphone app on Tuesday, April 24.

Instacart now suggests a default 5 percent tip for the shopper. You can change the tip amount at checkout or up to three days after delivery. The entire tip goes to the shopper who delivers your order. Secondly, Instacart has changed the service fee from 10 percent to 5 percent and moved it from waivable to fixed.

The company said it’s excited about this change because it believes it’s a better experience for the Instacart community.

Photo Credit: Instacart]]>
<![CDATA[Van Full of Children Crashes Into North Miami Restaurant]]> Wed, 23 May 2018 23:28:51 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/north+miami+van+into+restaurant.gif

A van carrying children from a Florida Catholic school plowed into a pizzeria in North Miami Wednesday afternoon.

The crash happened at G's BBQ & Pizza at Northwest Seventh Avenue and 122nd Street.

Police said the van was cut off by another car and the driver swerved in an attempt to avoid a collision, but crashed into the building.

Officials said the 10 students from St. James Catholic School inside the van were were not injured. Their ages were not immediately known.  

The van's driver and patrons and employees inside the restaurant also escaped without injuries.

The owner said he opened the restaurant just two weeks ago and hopes to reopen soon.

<![CDATA[Car Hits Construction Worker Prompting Turnpike Closure]]> Wed, 23 May 2018 18:34:45 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/215*120/052318+road+closure.jpg

A construction worker was hit by a car in Lauderhill Wednesday afternoon, according to officials.

Lauderhill Fire crews said all lanes are blocked on the Turnpike northbound at Commercial Blvd. Officials recommend seeking an alternate route as delays can be expected.

Click Here for Live Traffic Conditions

The construction worker is in critical condition and is being airlifted to the hospital.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is made available. 

<![CDATA[South Florida Students Discuss Gun Violence With Lawmakers]]> Wed, 23 May 2018 20:53:24 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/212*120/052318+gun+reform.jpg

Dozens of South Florida students were on Capitol Hill Wednesday for a meeting with lawmakers to discuss gun violence in their communities.

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Miami Northwestern High School, and other students from around the country who have dealt with gun violence first hand, were all in attendance to tell lawmakers their stories. They also presented proposals for gun reform.

Some of the proposed changes to lawmakers included background checks and stricter gun laws.

The students called out politicians for not taking action at a legislative level. They went on to say there is no reason why Democrats and Republicans cannot agree on this isuse.

“Let’s put America first and put the gun lobbies and the NRA second,” said Alfonso Calderon of Stoneman Douglas High. “I don’t understand why this is such a difficult conversation to have.”

“I feel unsafe because my community is unsafe,” said Jennifer Mirbelle of Miami Northwestern High. “For example, small children are afraid of big children playing in front of their house and riding their bikes because someone might come by and just start shooting.”

Mirbelle went on to say that she feels safer in school than in her community.

The forum was held by house members, along with the gun violence prevention task force, which includes Congresswoman Frederika Wilson and Congressman Ted Deutch.

Members of congress said they want to work with the students to figure out a solution to the nationwide problem.

<![CDATA[Candidate: Displaced Puerto Ricans Shouldn't Vote in Florida]]> Wed, 23 May 2018 15:41:42 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/052318+john+ward.jpg

A Florida congressional candidate is facing criticism after saying hurricane evacuees from Puerto Rico shouldn't be allowed to register to vote in the state.

Republican John Ward, who's running for the 6th district in northeast Florida, made the comments last month at a GOP club forum.

"I don't think they should be allowed to register to vote and it's not lost on me that I think the Democrat party's really hoping that they can change the voting registers in a lot of counties and districts and I don't think they should be allowed to do that," Ward said in a video from the forum posted to YouTube.

"I think the situation's improving a lot there and where I'm going with that comment is we should be looking to put the Puerto Ricans back in their homes," Ward said in the video. "The idea they can come to the mainland United States, I don't necessarily have a problem with that but we should be thinking about it in terms of getting them back home and providing the capital and resources to rebuild Puerto Rico which I honestly think is where they belong."

Ward received criticism from his primary opponent and Florida Democratic Party after making the remarks. On Monday, he clarified his comments in an interview with Politico, saying Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and should be allowed to register to vote in Florida if they decide to become permanent residents of the state.

Thousands of Puerto Ricans came to Florida after Hurricane Maria devastated the island last year.

Photo Credit: WardforCongress.com]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect Injured in Police-Involved Shooting in Opa-locka]]> Wed, 23 May 2018 23:29:58 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/052318+opa-locka+police-involved+shooting+Danny+West.jpg

Authorities are investigating a police-involved shooting in Opa-locka involving Miami-Dade officers that left one suspect hospitalized Wednesday, officials said.

The shooting happened just after 1 p.m. at the Glorieta Gardens apartment complex in the 13000 block of Alexandria Drive.

Miami-Dade Police Det. Lee Cowart said the 29-year-old suspect was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center where he was in stable condition.

According to Cowart, Miami-Dade Police robbery detectives had tried to stop a white Cadillac earlier in the day but the car fled the scene. Detectives let the vehicle leave but canvassed the area and found the car at the apartment complex.

Detectives set up surveillance and saw three men approach the car and try to remove the license plate, Cowart said.

The detectives approached the suspects, there was a confrontation, and shots were fired, Cowart said.

Cowart said he didn't know if any of the suspects were armed or if any weapons were found at the scene. No officers were injured in the incident.

The two suspects who weren't shot fled the scene on foot but were taken into custody after a perimeter was set up, Cowart said. It's unknown what exact charges the suspects, ages 29 and 31, will face.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the shooting.

Check back with NBC 6 for updates.

Photo Credit: Danny West]]>
<![CDATA[Police ID Suspects on the Run After Lauderhill Murder]]> Wed, 23 May 2018 17:53:06 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/052318+Alejandra+Porras+Laura+Daniela+Perez-Lozano+Christian+David+Carmona+Quinonez+Juan+David+Uribe+Carvajal+lauderhill+suspects.jpg

Police are looking for a group of suspects in connection with the February murder of a man who was shot to death inside his Lauderhill condominium during what's believed to be a robbery gone wrong.

Five suspects, three women and two men, are being sought in the Feb. 11 killing of 44-year-old Martin Young - also known as Emerald Sr. - inside The Manors at Inverrary at 4164 Inverrary Drive.

At a news conference Wednesday, police released the identities of four of the suspects and said they're trying to identify the fifth. The four suspects are Alejandra Porras, 25; Laura Daniela Perez-Lozano, 23; Cristian David Carmona Quinonez, 18; and Juan David Uribe Carvajal AKA "Juribel", 22.

Police said authorities in Texas stopped the suspects during a traffic stop the day after the killing. The suspects, who were driving west, gave fake names but were captured on police body cameras. They were last seen in California and have altered their appearances, police said.

Police said Young met the three women in downtown Fort Lauderdale and was seen on surveillance video walking down a sidewalk with them around 4 a.m. The same women were seen with Young in surveillance footage from the elevator of his building around 6:20 a.m.

A short time later, one of the women left Young's apartment and was seen letting the two men into the building, police said.

There was a confrontation in the apartment and Young was shot and killed, police said. Moments later the suspects were captured on surveillance running down a stairwell in the building.

Police said they believe the group was robbing Young and said they may have committed similar robberies in the past.

Young was married to his wife, Nakeeha, for 17 years, and the couple had two children.

"I'm pretty sure they will do it again so I think it's very important that the public locates them and have them brought to justice because I'm certain that they will do this again," Nakeeha Young said.

A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered for information leading to arrests in the case. Anyone with information is asked to call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.

Photo Credit: Lauderhill Police]]>