This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Putnam County Sheriff’s Office detectives have found the shotgun allegedly used to kill Christian Eric Sanchez, 23, of Pomona Park Tuesday. Fernando Vargas, 18, was jailed on first-degree murder charges Wednesday. The shooting happened shortly after 6:30 p.m. Tuesday outside Sanchez’s residence on Keown Avenue. Vargas and a 16-year-old were playing basketball at Willard F. Hazen Memorial Park in Pomona Park when they saw Sanchez arguing with his girlfriend and then hit her with a liquor bottle. Vargas stepped into the argument and the two men got into an altercation, according to the Sheriff’s Office. They separated and Vargas, carrying a shotgun, walked with the woman to get her car, which was in front of Sanchez’s home a couple of blocks from the park. Sanchez followed in his vehicle and another argument began between the men. Vargas shot Sanchez who was still sitting in his car, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Vargas fled but was later found at his house Tuesday evening. Sanchez died at the scene. Col. Joe Wells with the Sheriff’s Office says so far this year detectives have investigated two homicides with one remaining open and the other in Pomona Park solved by arrest.
No update from the Palatka Police Department on the two shooting deaths on the city’s northside. One shooting on Sunday morning left Derreck Leonard dead inside a home on North 11th Street. A warrant has been issued for Oba Carter, 46. Allegedly the shooting involved an argument about a woman. On Tuesday a shooting outside of an apartment building on North 16th Street left Joseph Brinson dead.
A 70-year-old Palatka man died after he had a medical episode while driving and crashed into another vehicle on Wednesday morning in St. Johns County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol said. The man’s Chevrolet pickup truck was headed north on 207 when he had a medical episode just south of Wildwood Drive around 8:15 a.m. and rear-ended a Ford SUV stopped in traffic. The pickup truck driver was taken to a local hospital where he died, according to FHP. The 31-year-old Palatka woman driving the SUV was not injured, said troopers.
A 44-year-old Palm Coast motorcyclist died in an accident Wednesday morning on Interstate 95 in Flagler County. The motorcyclist and a 68-year-old Ponte Vedra woman in an SUV were both headed south on I-95 when the motorcyclist for unknown reasons lost control of his bike, struck the right side of the SUV and crashed. The man was not wearing a helmet. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The woman was not injured. Southbound lanes were tied up for a couple of hours.
Three people died in a single-vehicle accident late Tuesday night in the Melrose area on State Road 100. Florida Highway Patrol said the driver of a pickup truck was trying to pass another vehicle on SR 100 when it went off the road and ran into a tree. The truck caught fire and the three people in the truck died. Identification of the three is pending. The accident happened in Clay County near County Road 219.
Palatka City Commissioners apparently are going forward with an unpopular plan to move the Public Works department including garbage trucks to the city’s main business park. Tonight they’ll be looking at a $158,704 bid for the design and bridging documents for the project on PRC Way. Earlier commissioners led by Mayor Terrell Hill tried to move City Hall, Public Works and other city facilities to the park, planning to buy a building that has since been purchased for a call facility. That fell flat in part because people objected to moving the facilities to the edge of the city. Cost for a new public works building is projected at $3.4 million.
Florida Department of Health in Flagler County Wednesday reported two new coronavirus-related deaths bringing their total since counting began in March a year ago to 112 deaths. In addition nine new coronavirus cases were reported for a total of 7,459 in Flagler. On Tuesday health departments in St. Johns and Putnam counting both reported two new coronavirus-related deaths. That brings the death count in Putnam to 156 with 15 new cases reported Wednesday for a total of 6,674 cases. St. Johns County’s death count is at 221. On Wednesday the health department reported 21 new deaths for a total of 23,184.