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The second person shot in the parking lot of a St. Augustine condominium complex Tuesday has died, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. Today would have been victim Kyle Stein’s 23nd birthday. Friends plan a memorial tonight in the parking lot where Stein and his reported girlfriend, only identified as Sydney, were shot at Florida Club Condominiums near Florida Club Boulevard off State Road 16. Suspected shooter Anfernee Wilson, 19, was quickly found Tuesday in a retention pond about a mile away. Wilson, who was a former standout football player at St. Augustine High School, was arrested for drugs last year. He is in jail without bond facing a felony homicide charge and a felony weapons charge and a second felony homicide charge is expected. Witnesses said Wilson fired into a black truck, shooting two people. Before running off toward Royal St. Augustine Golf Course, Wilson allegedly reached in the truck cab and removed some items. The investigation is continuing.
Florida Department of Health in Flagler County reported two coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday, bringing their death total to 31. Seven coronavirus cases were reported, bringing the total to 1,812. St. Johns County reported one coronavirus related death bringing their total to 75. Twenty-two new coronavirus cases were reported, bringing the total in St. Johns to 5,589. Putnam County Wednesday reported six new coronavirus cases with one hospitalized transfer out of county. Case total since counting began in March is 2,165.
Bunnell won’t be hosting the annual Halloween fest due to coronavirus concerns. City commissioners agreed not to hold the event at Saw Mill Estates neighborhood. Normally up to 1,000 trick-or-treaters show up for the event held in the Saw Mill Estates neighborhood. Three deaths and nearly two dozen cases have been attributed to a gathering in August at the Social Club of Palm Coast and officials are leery of a repeat.
Palatka city commissioners tonight will be talking about Halloween at their 6 p.m. meeting. Downtown Palatka Inc., which normally hosts Boo on the Avenue and draws hundreds of costumed children, has decided not to hold their event this year. The city is looking at the possibility of continuing Trunk or Treat at the Palatka Mall, but kids won’t be getting out of cars and candy will be distributed though pipes.
St. Johns County school officials have decided to no longer move students from brick-and-mortar schools to school-based distance learning. Superintendent Tim Forson in an e-mail Monday said an exception would be made in the case of “a high-risk health risk for students.” Forson says it’s becoming increasing more difficult for teacher to manage instruction of both in-school and online students at the same time. More teachers than originally planned for have been needed to make the system work.
A Flagler County man who reportedly threatened a U.S. Census Bureau official with a gun was jailed Monday. That it turns out is a federal crime. Census taker Johnny Swinney, 46, was in the west Bunnell area known as the Mondex, when he stopped at the house of Michael William Cooper, 32. Swinney, who lives in Putnam County, identified himself and Cooper reportedly began screaming at the official to leave. Cooper then went in is mobile home, and came out with an assault style rifle, chambering a round. Swinney left. Cooper reportedly fired the gun into the ground. Cooper told officers the worker had not identified himself, but witnesses disagree. Cooper faces a third-degree felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
The Hotel James in downtown Palatka is back on the market after two years. Owner Tate Miller says he and his family are moving to California due to family reasons. He’s also plans to put the Grand Gables Bed & Breakfast on Emmett Street on the market. Tate and his wife had announced plans for renovation of the hotel when they bought it two years ago for $200,000 and the move was seen as a major step toward revitalization of the downtown. In other Palatka business changes, Beef O’Brady’s at the Quality Inn on Palatka’s riverfront has new management. The Smith Family has run the business, moving it from its original location off St. Johns Avenue.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.