Gun store owner shoots, kills armed robber, police say

Published: Monday, December 26, 2016 @ 6:14 PM
Updated: Monday, December 26, 2016 @ 6:14 PM

Gun Store Owner Shoots and Kills Armed Robber

A gun store owner shot and killed a man attempting to rob his store Monday morning, according to police.

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The owner of Dixie Gun and Pawn in Cobb County was preparing to open the store when two men with ski masks and guns came in, police said. Police said the owner pulled out his gun and fired, hitting one of the gunmen.

The second gunman took off into a nearby Mableton neighborhood, according to police. Police are still searching for that man, and they believe he is armed.


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Who was Marjory Stoneman Douglas? 13 things to know about Parkland high school’s namesake

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 1:12 PM

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, was the scene of a mass shooting on Valentine's Day 2018 that killed 17 people. The high school, which opened its doors in 1990, was named for author and environmentalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas, who spent her life working to save the Florida Everglades.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images, State Archives of Florida
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, was the scene of a mass shooting on Valentine's Day 2018 that killed 17 people. The high school, which opened its doors in 1990, was named for author and environmentalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas, who spent her life working to save the Florida Everglades.(Joe Raedle/Getty Images, State Archives of Florida)

When an accused teenage gunman opened fire on his former classmates last week, he wore a maroon polo shirt emblazoned with the logo of the school from which he’d been expelled -- Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The name Stoneman Douglas has become synonymous with the tragedy that ended with 17 people dead and the accused killer, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, charged with murdering them. But who was Marjory Stoneman Douglas?

Douglas, who died in 1998 at the age of 108, was a journalist and advocate of the women’s suffrage movement. She may be most well-known, however, for her efforts to save the Florida Everglades, which are not far from the school bearing her name.

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Below are some of the details from Douglas’ remarkable life.

  • Marjory Stoneman, who was born in 1890 in Minneapolis, showed a tendency for excellence early on. According to the National Park Service, she graduated with a 4.0 GPA from Wellesley College, where she was elected “class orator.”
  • Following a brief marriage to a man named Kenneth Douglas, she moved to Florida in 1915 to reunite with her father, Frank Stoneman, who she had not seen since she was a child. The first publisher of the Miami Herald, Stoneman hired his daughter as a society columnist. 
  • Moving through various duties at the Herald, Douglas established herself as a noteworthy writer, the National Park Service said. It was as a journalist that she embraced activism, fighting for feminism, racial justice and conservation of nature. 
  • It was around 1917 that Douglas took on a passionate role in advocating for the preservation of the Everglades. NPR reported that most people at the time considered the Everglades “a worthless swamp,” but Douglas disagreed. 
  • “We have all these natural beauties and resources,” Douglas said in a 1981 NPR interview, when she was 91 years old. “Among all the states, there isn’t another state like it. And our great problem is to keep them as they are in spite of the tremendous increase of population of people who don’t necessarily understand the nature of Florida.”
  • Douglas in 1947 published her book, “The Everglades: River of Grass,” described by the National Park Service as the “definitive description of the natural treasure she fought so hard to protect.” Later that year, she was an honored guest when President Harry Truman dedicated the Everglades National Park, according to the National Wildlife Federation.  
  • In the 1950s, Douglas railed against a major project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a system of canals, levees, dams and pumping stations designed to protect marshland -- now used for agriculture and real estate -- from flooding. The National Park Service credits Douglas with fighting the destruction of the wetlands long before scientists realized the effects it would have on Florida’s ecosystem.
  • In 1969, she founded the nonprofit Friends of the Everglades, which continues to fight for the wetlands today. 
  • Co-author John Rothchild, in the introduction to Douglas’ autobiography, described watching her speak at a 1973 public meeting regarding a Corps of Engineers permit: “When she spoke, everybody stopped slapping (mosquitoes) and more or less came to order. She reminded us all of our responsibility to nature and I don’t remember what else. Her voice had the sobering effect of a one-room schoolmarm’s. The tone itself seemed to tame the rowdiest of the local stone crabbers, plus the developers and the lawyers on both sides. I wonder if it didn’t also intimidate the mosquitoes. The request for a Corps of Engineers permit was eventually turned down. This was no surprise to those of us who’d heard her speak.”
  • Douglas was inducted into the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Hall of Fame in 1999, and into the National Women’s Hall of Fame a year later
  • When discussing the issue of mankind and humans’ attitude toward nature, Douglas pulled no punches. “I’ll tell you, the whole thing is an enormous battle between man’s intelligence and his stupidity,” she told NPR. “And I’m not at all sure that stupidity isn’t going to win out in the long run.”
  • She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She later donated the medal to Wellesley College. 
  • On the same day she received the medal from President Clinton, Douglas was invited to witness the signing of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, commonly called the Brady Bill, according to the Daily Beast. The bill, named for Jim Brady, the press secretary critically injured during the 1981 attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, established a federal background check for those wanting to purchase a firearm.
Cruz passed a background check in February 2017 when he legally bought the assault rifle used in last week’s massacre at Stoneman Douglas. 

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Florida teen brings knife to school with list of students' names, deputies say

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 12:58 PM

Authorities booked Benjamin Mendoza, 18, into jail in Collier County, Florida, on charges of possession of a weapon on school property and interfering or disrupting school administration functions.
Collier County Jail
Authorities booked Benjamin Mendoza, 18, into jail in Collier County, Florida, on charges of possession of a weapon on school property and interfering or disrupting school administration functions.(Collier County Jail)

A Florida high school student was arrested Monday after deputies said he brought a knife, gas mask and other disturbing items to school.

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Benjamin Mendoza, 18, was booked into the Collier County Jail on charges of possession of a weapon on school property and interfering/disrupting school administration functions. 

Deputies said they received a tip about Mendoza Friday from someone who said Mendoza had brought a gas mask to Palmetto Ridge High School and previously had made disturbing comments to him about the Las Vegas mass shooting.

>> Related: FBI didn't investigate tip about Nikolas Cruz before deadly school shooting

When confronted at the school, northwest of Naples, detectives found several items in Mendoza’s backpack, including: 

  • A fake, but realistic-looking, Los Angeles Police Department badge;  
  • A drawing of a body with bullet holes to the chest and the words “dead ha ha dead” written on the back of the paper; 
  • A small notebook containing stories and drawings depicting victims and suspects in murders and other crimes;  
  • A Palmetto Ridge High School map; and
  • A note that said “shoot up school” and “school shoot animae (cq) dead.”
Other students also told detectives that they saw Mendoza with a knife and gas mask at school. 

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George, Amal Clooney donate $500,000 to Parkland shooting survivors

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 12:24 PM

George Clooney and his wife Amal Clooney have announced they are donating $500,000 to support Parkland shooting survivors in the March for Our Lives.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
George Clooney and his wife Amal Clooney have announced they are donating $500,000 to support Parkland shooting survivors in the March for Our Lives.(Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Nearly a week after the Valentine’s Day shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school, George and Amal Clooney have announced they will participate in The March For Our Lives on March 24 and have donated $500,000 to the group.

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The celebrity couple made the announcement in a statement from George Clooney. People reported the donation was made in the name of the couple’s 8-month-old twins Ella and Alexander.

“Amal and I are so inspired by the courage and eloquence of these young men and women from Stoneman Douglas High School,” Clooney said in a statement. “Our family will be there on March 24 to stand side by side with this incredible generation of young people from all over the country, and in the name of our children Ella and Alexander, we’re donating $500,000 to help pay for this groundbreaking event. Our children’s lives depend on it.”

Related: Gabrielle Union, Kim Kardashian, more celebs call for gun control after Florida school shooting

The March of Our Lives event was announced by Students David Hogg, Alex Wind, Cameron Kasky, Jacqueline Coren and Emma Gonzalez, five survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. On Feb. 14, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire at the school, killing 17 people.

Related: Florida school shooting timeline: Seven minutes, three floors and 17 dead

Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

The March For Our Lives march will be in Washington, D.C. According to the group’s website, “the kids and families of March For Our Lives will take to the streets of Washington DC to demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end this epidemic of mass school shootings.”

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Retired Florida deputy fatally shot son-in-law, investigators say

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 2:31 PM

Retired Deputy Allegedly Shot, Killed Son-In-Law

A retired Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed his son-in-law — the father of his two young grandsons — Sunday night in The Acreage, according to authorities.

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Carlton Nebergall Jr., 61, was arrested early Monday on a first-degree murder charge in the death of Jacob Lodge, 36, who was in divorce proceedings with Nebergall’s daughter, court records show. Nebergall appeared Monday morning with his attorney, Michael Salnick, in front of Judge Ted Booras. Booras recused himself from the case, though, saying, “I’ve known the defendant for too many years.”

Nebergall will remain in the Palm Beach County Jail until at least Wednesday, when another judge can rule on his bond requirements.

Nebergall was taken into custody late Sunday after deputies responded to a home on the far east end of Mellow Court, near the Pond Cypress Natural Area, following a shooting. Authorities found Lodge fatally shot at about 8:30 that night. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Sheriff’s authorities have not commented on what may have motivated the retired deputy to shoot Lodge. Court records indicate Nebergall’s daughter filed for a divorce from Lodge last month.

Lodge’s younger brother, Clint, said Monday that Nebergall’s daughter and Lodge had an “off-and-on, love-hate relationship” for about a decade. They had two boys, ages 9 and 5, according to Clint Lodge. They had been living separately prior to Lodge’s death, his brother said.

He said Lodge and Nebergall had argued before over Nebergall’s daughter. He wasn’t sure what led up to his brother’s killing.

“He was far from perfect, but he didn’t deserve that,” Clint Lodge said about his brother, calling him “one of the best, just somebody you could really look up to.” Records indicate Jacob Lodge was scheduled to be on probation until May 2019 in a theft-related case. He had another open theft case in which he was accused of stealing from his former employer, an air-conditioning company. He pleaded not guilty to those charges.

His in-laws’ law enforcement backgrounds led to conflict about being on “the right side of the law,” Clint Lodge said.

Nebergall worked at the Lantana Police Department from 1981 to 1985, when he joined the sheriff’s office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement records state. He worked at the sheriff’s office until his retirement in 2012.

His son, Jason Nebergall, joined him at the sheriff’s office in 2007, state records show. However, during his nine years on the job, the younger Nebergall was accused of being overly aggressive, pulling a gun on a fellow deputy and engaging in sexual misconduct at a West Palm Beach-area nightclub while on duty and in full uniform.

In December 2016, Jason Nebergall, a U.S. Air Force member, was arrested after a then-26-year-old woman accused him of sexually battering her months earlier. He had responded to the woman’s home earlier on the night of the alleged incident for a disturbance call and returned to “check in” on her, he said. He denied inappropriately touching her, though his DNA was found on her breasts.

He had been placed on paid administrative in July 2016, after the sheriff’s office was alerted to the allegations. It was not immediately known whether he is still on the sheriff’s office’s payroll.

Salnick is representing the younger Nebergall through the legal proceedings of that case, which remains open while Nebergall is out of jail on a $100,000 surety bond. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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