Update: Man in shark-dragging video asks for increased police patrols

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 4:44 PM

14 Astonishing Facts about Sharks

Update: A Florida police department is increasing its patrols at the house of a man identified by social media as appearing in the violent shark-dragging video that went viral this week.

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The 21-year-old’s name is being withheld by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials while the investigation is ongoing, but his personal information has been widely publicized on social media.

Palmetto Police Chief Scott Tyler said the man and his family made the patrol request following the social media outrage. There have been no incidents at the man’s home, but officers will increase patrols as they would if any citizen made a similar request, Tyler said.

“There aren’t any crowds gathered outside,” Tyler said. “We’re just keeping an extra eye open.”

Tyler said he would prefer people not rush to judgement, and be careful about what they post to social media.

He said he learned about the video over the weekend.

“I immediately was thinking, ‘I hope they’re not from Florida,'” he said. “I didn’t realize there were ties to my community.”

Tyler said he’s not surprised by the outrage.

“I think we all have some strong emotions about the video,” he said. “Let’s just let law enforcement conduct its investigation and find out what, if any, laws were broken.

Previous story: A man seen in the disturbing shark-dragging video that went viral earlier this week has a history of posting troubling photos with wildlife in the past and has been previously investigated by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed Wednesday that there was an open investigation in 2015 of the previous photos, but is not linking the man in the shark-dragging video with that investigation. The investigation was closed this year with no charges filed.

Social media has not been shy about publicizing the man’s identity, including posting his name, date of birth and address in Palmetto, Fla., on multiple message boards and websites.

The Palm Beach Post is not naming the 21-year-old because he has not been identified officially by authorities. 

FWC does know who the men are in the shark video, but is not releasing their identities, and isn’t sure any laws were broken by violently dragging the shark at high speeds behind a boat.

“However, the FWC would like to state that the lack of respect shown in this video for our precious natural resources is disheartening and disturbing, and is not representative of conservation-minded anglers around the world,” said spokesman Robert Klepper.

In one photo, the man is seen hugging a pelican, tightly gripping its beak. In another, he is seen holding up a protected spotted eagle ray.

Still, some fishermen said that although the shark-dragging incident was cruel, it may not have broken any laws.

Marvin Steiding, owner and captain of Reel Candy Sport Fishing in Jupiter, said dragging the shark was “unnecessary and totally ridiculous.”

“A few captains are pretty upset,” said Steiding, who does allow clients to catch and release sharks. “I’m not a fan of killing them because they have no edible value except Mako, and from an ecological value, they are very important to our reefs.”

But because it’s hard to tell what kind of shark was being dragged in the video – not all species are protected – it could be difficult to levy any charges, Steiding said.

Blacktip, bonehead, bull, blue, nurse oceanic whitetip, shortfin mako and thresher are among the species that can be harvested, although some have size limits. About 25 species, including the tiger shark, are prohibited from harvest. That means if they are snagged by fishermen, they must be released as quickly as possible.

“I don’t know why it’s not covered under animal cruelty,” he said. “It’s just very unfortunate.”

According to CNN, the video was made public by Miami charter fisherman Mark Quartiano. Quartiano said he thinks the men sent it to him so he would publicize it and get them more attention.

Instead, Quartiano said he thought it was disturbing. The men responded “with a picture of the shark’s head and remains after it had been dragged through the water,” CNN wrote.

GANSBAAI, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 08: (EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS DIGITAL IMAGE HAS BEEN CONVERTED TO BLACK AND WHITE) A Great White Shark is seen in the Indian Ocean near the town of Gans Bay on July 8, 2010 in Gansbaai, South Africa. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)(Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
“They thought it was funny, they thought it was cool,” Quartiano said to CNN. “Even if the shark was dead, you don’t do that. It’s totally disrespectful.”

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Back at White House, Trump week set to focus on foreign policy

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 8:52 PM

After a two-day meeting last week with the Japanese Prime Minister in Florida, more diplomacy is in the future for President Donald Trump this week, as he receives two major European leaders at the White House, with the French President and German Chancellor coming to Washington, D.C. for meetings with Mr. Trump.

One of the main topics is expected to be the Iran nuclear deal, which the President has repeatedly threatened to abandon; that threat will draw the attention of both the French and German leaders.

“Would it be a mistake for the President to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal?” Macron was asked on Fox News Sunday.

“I don’t have any plan B for nuclear against Iran,” French President Emmanuel Macron said.

Here are some of the issues likely to come up this week as Macron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hold separate talks with Mr. Trump:

1. Iran nuclear deal squarely in Trump’s focus. Since way back on the 2016 campaign, President Trump has made clear that he wants to tear up the Iran nuclear deal, but aides so far have steered him clear of that move, arguing the agreement includes not only the U.S., but Europe as well. Mr. Trump’s latest deadline for action is May 12, when another waiver of economic sanctions against Iran is due for action by the President. It’s not clear what type of deal the U.S. and Europe could develop which would be accepted by Iran. And it’s an issue that certainly has the attention of much of Europe.

2. Trump continues to ruffle feathers over trade. Whether it is with American farmers or foreign governments, the President’s push to levy new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, as well as possibly billions of dollars in products from China, the President has roiled world markets and relations with other world leaders, as many in his own party warn against starting a trade war with Beijing. In order to get his message directly to Mr. Trump, the French leader went on Fox News Sunday to say that the idea of tariffs on friends is not a good strategy for dealing with allies like France. It’s still not clear if Europe will get an exemption from the new steel and aluminum tariffs.

3. Nailing down the details of a Kim Jong Un summit. As Macron and Merkel arrive, the President and the White House seem certain to be pressed this week on what’s next with scheduling a meeting between Mr. Trump and the North Korean leader. Some reports have indicated that such a summit would take place in Europe – Sweden and Switzerland have been mentioned as possible sites – but so far, nothing has been hammered out. On Sunday, Mr. Trump mocked those who have raised questions over what might be achieved with a U.S.-North Korean summit. “Funny how all of the Pundits that couldn’t come close to making a deal on North Korea are now all over the place telling me how to make a deal!” the President tweeted.

4. Mar-a-Lago no refuge from Russia probe; neither is DC. While the President was at his Florida retreat for six days last week, the Russia probe continued to rage around Mr. Trump – and Mr. Trump seems certain to hear more about this week, whether it’s the fallout from the release of memos by former FBI Director James Comey, or other items. At a news conference with the Japanese Prime Minister in Florida, the President told reporters, ‘there was no collusion with Russia.’ Over the weekend, Mr. Trump continued his Twitter jabs at Comey, labeling him a “proven liar and leaker.” The President even seemed to take a shot at his Attorney General as well over investigating Comey and Hillary Clinton.

5. The President’s personal lawyer remains in legal limbo. After challenging the legality of an April 9 FBI raid, Michael Cohen will evidently not be getting any quick action on his effort to suppress any evidence uncovered by the feds. A special FBI team will be able to continue to evaluate evidence seized, as the judge in the case set a status hearing on the matter for May 24 – almost five weeks from now. Federal Judge Kimba Wood has said she might let the FBI “taint team” review the evidence, or appoint a ‘special master’ to oversee any questions about attorney-client privilege involving Cohen and the President. That is not good news for Cohen, and not good news for the White House, as this story may not be going anywhere before Memorial Day.

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Waffle House shooting: 4 dead after nude gunman opens fire in Tennessee; victims identified

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 8:12 AM
Updated: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 7:48 PM

Police: 4 Dead After Waffle House Shooting by Nude Gunman

At least four people are dead after a shooting at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee.

Killed were Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29, a Waffle House employee who was outside the restaurant when the gunman opened fire; Joe R. Perez, 20, of Nashville, who was a patron standing outside the restaurant; Akilah Dasilva, 23, of Antioch, who was wounded inside the restaurant and died at Vanderbilt University Medial Center; and DeEbony Groves, 21, of Gallatin, a senior at Belmont University in Nashville. 

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Melania Trump poses with Bushes, Clintons and Obamas at Barbara Bush funeral

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 5:44 PM

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 21:   First Lady Melania Trump arrives at St. Martin's Episcopal Church for a funeral service for former first lady Barbara Bush on April 21, 2018 in Houston, Texas. Bush, wife of former president George H. W. Bush and mother of former president George W. Bush, died at her home in Houston on April 17 at the age of 92.   (Photo by David J. Phillip-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 21: First Lady Melania Trump arrives at St. Martin's Episcopal Church for a funeral service for former first lady Barbara Bush on April 21, 2018 in Houston, Texas. Bush, wife of former president George H. W. Bush and mother of former president George W. Bush, died at her home in Houston on April 17 at the age of 92. (Photo by David J. Phillip-Pool/Getty Images)(Pool/Getty Images)

The current first lady posed for a picture with former first ladies and past presidents Saturday at Barbara Bush’s funeral.

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First Lady Melania Trump is seen in the image, taken by photographer Paul Morse, with the Bushes, Clintons and Obamas.

Trump, who attended the funeral without her husband, is seen standing alongside Michelle Obama.

“It was my honor to travel to Houston to give my respects to Barbara Bush and the remarkable life she led as a mother, wife, and fearless First Lady,” she said in a statement. “My sincerest thoughts and prayers continue to be with George H.W., and the entire Bush family.”

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Florida man asking for help to get back his stolen firefighter training gear

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 8:01 PM

Anel Muratovic is just a few months away from finishing a firefighter training program at First Coast Technical College in St. Augustine. His fire academy uniform was taken when his red Volvo was stolen and he just wants it back. (Photo: ActionNewsJax.com)
Anel Muratovic is just a few months away from finishing a firefighter training program at First Coast Technical College in St. Augustine. His fire academy uniform was taken when his red Volvo was stolen and he just wants it back. (Photo: ActionNewsJax.com)

A Jacksonville man said all of his firefighter training gear was inside his car when it was stolen for the second time in just a few months.

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Anel Muratovic wants to join the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. He is just a few months away from finishing a firefighter training program at First Coast Technical College in St. Augustine.

“So close, so close. I finished my EMT last year. That was the easy part,” he said. “Fire academy, not so easy. It’s really difficult, very strenuous physically.”

He said he wanted to spend time with family on Friday, so he spent the night at his mother’s home at Azalea Ridge Apartments.

When he walked outside at 5:30 a.m. Saturday, he said, his red Volvo was missing.

“My fire uniform from fire academy is in there,” he said. “The coat, helmet, trousers, the boots, the Nomex hood.”

Muratovic said he rented the gear for $850 and will have to pay thousands to get a new set.

“I can’t do anything without that uniform. Can’t go into any fires,” he said. “This upcoming Saturday, we have a wild burn, it’s a wild land burn, and I won’t be able to participate in that and it’s mandatory.”

He said the car was recovered nearby a few days after it was stolen from the same apartment complex in January.

He showed Action News Jax the key to the car and said he’s not sure how the thieves got inside.

He said he doesn’t care about getting the car back this time. He just needs the gear.

“Let them throw it out the window for all I care, as long as I get the uniform back,” he said. “If anybody leaves a big red bag somewhere, it says, 'turnout gear' on it.”

Muratovic said he hopes someone finds the bag or recognizes the South of the Border, sugar skull and JAX stickers on the back of the car before his training on Saturday.

Action News Jax contacted the apartment complex manager to find out if there’s surveillance video of the theft.

The manager said he’s still reviewing the footage.

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