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9 Investigates early learning struggles amid poor funding and little accountability


Work continues as $800M One Daytona project comes closer to completion

Marion County substitute teacher charged with inappropriately touching female student

A Marion County substitute teacher has been arrested for inappropriately touching students at Lake Weir High School, deputies said.

Timothy Cooke, 58, is facing one count of battery and one count of simple battery on a juvenile.

Deputies said the victim reported the case in January.

She told investigators that she was helping grade papers in Cooke’s class when he came up behind her and grabbed her buttocks.

When she tried to move away, Cooke grabbed her tighter and pulled her toward him, investigators said.

While deputies were investigating the case, they said another victim told them while she was in class with Cook, he wrapped his arms around her and put his hand on her breast.

The student said he squeezed her tighter before she was able to pry herself from his grasp.

She told deputies that she transferred to another school so she didn't have to see Cooke.

Deputies said the Marion County Sheriff’s Office has investigated five cases of simple battery on Lake Weir students by Cooke since 2009.  

The two most recent cases led to his arrest on Wednesday. One case remains open, and the two other cases were closed because of lack of prosecution.

When Channel 9 went to the Ocala address listed for Cooke on his arrest report, an individual at the residence would not say where the substitute teacher was.

He then said to leave.

"You got a few minutes to get off my property or you're going to get bit," the man said, referring to a dog standing beside him in the doorway.

Cooke’s arrest was the second arrest of an educator for similar crimes this week.

Deputies asked anyone who believes that he or she is a victim of Cooke or has information on other possible victims to call the Marion County Sheriff’s Office at 352-732-9111 or Crime Stoppers of Marion County at 352- 368-STOP


Marion County substitute teacher charged with inappropriately touching female student

BB gun-wielding suspect shot by officer near Orlando Walmart, police say

A man accused of pelting customers with a BB gun outside an Orlando Walmart was shot nearby when he raised the realistic weapon and aimed it at a police officer, officials said.

An accused shooter taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound, the Orlando Police Department said.

The shooting was reported on John Young Parkway near Princeton Street on Thursday around 4 p.m., near the Walmart where Orlando Lt. Debra Clayton was shot and killed in January.

"The memory of Debra and having to come here again for an officer-involved shooting, that's one of the first things my staff and I talked about. It kind of brings up those sad memories, it does," said Orlando police Chief John Mina.

Photos: Scene of officer-involved shooting near Walmart in Orlando

Officers initially responded to the Walmart after a customer complained he'd been shot in the arm by a man with a BB gun, the department said in a news release.

The victim told investigators that the man walked up to him while he was loading groceries into his truck and opened fire with the BB gun.

The alleged shooter walked into the store and made a purchase before walking back into the parking lot and firing the BB gun at two other customers and parked vehicles.

The man left on foot but was confronted by an officer near John Young Parkway and Princeton Street.

The man started firing the BB gun at the officer, who returned fire, officials said.

The officer was not injured.

The weapon looked like a real gun, which is why the officer opened fire, Mina said. 

"It looks like a real gun," he said. "As a matter of fact, the barrel is larger than you would expect a BB gun to have. And the officer did make some statements that he thought the gun was real."

The accused shooter was taken to the hospital for his injuries.

His condition was not immediately available.

Davonte Key was working at the Walmart when the suspect opened fire with the BB gun and said the man was regularly see outside the store begging for money.

One of the people who was shot with the BB gun was a fellow employee, Key said. 

"Yeah, one of them was my associate," he said. "He works with me."

With Clayton's shooting death outside the store having happened so recently, Key was just glad Thursday's incident wasn't more serious.

"I'm just glad it wasn't a real gun he shot (people at the store) with," Key said.

Two people at the Walmart were shot and have minor injuries, Mina said.

OPD @ChiefJohnMina "I've looked at the gun myself. It looks real ". The victims at the Walmart have minor injuries.— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) February 23, 2017 <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>   Witnesses told police suspect was saying "hey what's up" then shooting people randomly with a BB gun. 2 victims have minor injuries. @WFTV— Lauren Seabrook (@LSeabrookWFTV) February 23, 2017 <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>   There are no details on the suspect's condition. He is a black male adult.— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) February 23, 2017 <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>   We received a call that Male randomly shooting at people at Walmart. Our officer approached & suspect pointed his gun and shot at officer— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) February 23, 2017 <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>   Chief Mina says his officer shot the suspect. He doesn't know the suspect's condition. @WFTV— Lauren Seabrook (@LSeabrookWFTV) February 23, 2017 <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>   Media stage at WAWA at silver star and John Young Parkway. Reference Officer involved shooting— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) February 23, 2017 Watch scene video of the officer-involved shooting below: <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" mozallowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="100%"></iframe>


BB gun-wielding suspect shot by officer near Orlando Walmart, police say

Florida deputy's co-workers share embarrassing post on social media

Even police officers can make a mistake when they are in a rush, which is why the Volusia County Sheriff's Office posted a picture that poked fun at one of their own. 

>> Read more trending stories

Sheriff's spokesman Andrew Grant told the Daytona Beach News-Journal the deputy was waiting out the rain in DeLand, Florida, while topping off his tank and forgot about the handle. But don't worry, police reported that "no gas pumps were harmed in the making of this photo."

 When you're just in a hurry to get back on the job...No gas pumps were harmed in the making of this photo.Posted by Volusia County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The photo has been liked and shared thousands of times.

Sheriff Mike Chitwood tweeted that the officer won't be in trouble.

"Not going to Hose a guy for being Pumped to get back to work," he jokingly tweeted.

He's not in any trouble. Not going to Hose a guy for being Pumped to get back to work— Mike Chitwood (@SheriffChitwood) February 22, 2017

Police chief, officer charged in shooting death of 73-year-old woman

An accidental shooting at a citizen’s police academy in Punta Gorda, Florida, resulted in the death of a retired librarian and charges against a police chief and an officer.

According to WINK, Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis and Officer Lee Coel were charged in connection with an August shooting that killed 73-year-old Mary Knowlton. 

>> Read more trending stories

The shooting took place during a “shoot/don’t shoot” exercise in which Knowlton was playing the role of an officer, while Coel was acting as an attacker. Coel fired his weapon, which was supposed to have blanks in it but was loaded.

The officer has been on administrative leave since the incident occurred as questions swirled regarding the apparent lack of procedures taken to ensure the gun was not loaded, and is now facing criminal charges.

The News-Press reported that Coel was arrested after turning himself in on Wednesday and is charged with manslaughter, while Lewis faces charges of culpable negligence.

The city approved a $2 million settlement for Knowlton’s family in November.

CNN reported that Coel faces up to 30 years in prison if he is convicted.

Former Sanford police officer arrested, charged with lying on timesheets

A former Sanford police officer was arrested Thursday on more than 100 charges stemming from timesheets that investigators say listed times he allegedly never worked.

Jason Bunch, who had been with the Sanford Police Department since March 2003, resigned from the force on Monday after having been placed on administrative leave in November, officials said.

The former officer was assigned to the Community Relations Unit in downtown Sanford.

According to investigators, on numerous occasions Bunch logged himself as working off-duty shifts at the same time he claimed to be working his regular shift assignment.

“He was also found to have failed to show up for off-duty details, yet continued to bill the vendor for services, and on numerous occasions, abandoned his assigned area during his shift and returned home,” the department said in a news release.

<iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="100%"></iframe>

On May 18, Bunch said he responded to a call for service in Sanford, going as far as saying he arrived at the scene, looked for the subject and left without finding them, investigators said.

At the time, the officer was in Orlando and could not have responded to the call, a Sanford arrest report said.

In all, investigators said that the alleged false timesheet information netted Bunch more than $8,000 between January and November.

He is facing 99 counts of official misconduct, a count of grand larceny and a count of failure to perform duty required of an officer.

Bunch was being held at the Seminole County Jail in lieu of bonds totaling more than $300,000.

#Breaking Former Sanford Police Officer Arrested for Official Misconduct and Grand Larceny— Sanford Police (@SanfordPolice) February 23, 2017 <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>
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