The Voice of the Gem City

February 5, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

A Crescent City man is in Flagler County jail facing second-degree murder charges in the death of a DeLeon Springs man after a three-day hunt for him by law enforcement. Jesus Torres, 43, was arrested Wednesday in Flagler after authorities began looking for him Sunday following a fight outside of Dixie’s Gentlemen’s Club on U.S. 17, north of DeLand. Torres reportedly got in an altercation inside the club that spilled outside. Surveillance video shows Torres knocking one man to the ground and punching him several times followed by him getting in an exchange of words with the man’s friend, Vicente Alejo Verdel, 44. Torres reportedly punched Verdel several times and after he fell to the ground motionless punched him several more times. Preliminary autopsy results indicated Verdel’s death was the result of blunt force trauma and was ruled a homicide. Torres remains in Flagler County jail without bond.

A two-vehicle traffic crash Thursday afternoon on State Road 207 left one San Mateo man dead, according to Florida Highway Patrol. The 55-year-old man, who was driving a pickup truck, attempted to change lanes around 5:25 p.m. He hit an SUV ahead of him and lost control of his vehicle. After veering off the road and overturning several times the truck came to rest in a ditch, according to FHP. The man was ejected. The driver of the SUV had minor injuries.

For the third time in as many weeks a Flagler County student has been arrested for making threats of a potential school shooting. The 12-year-old Bunnell Elementary School told multiple students Wednesday “don’t come to school tomorrow, I’m shooting up the school.” During questioning of the suspect and his parents by Flagler County Sheriffs deputies, the boy reportedly admitted to making the threats but claimed it was only a joke. He appeared remorseful and apologetic, said officials. He was taken into custody and charged with False Report Concerning the Use of Firearms in a Violent Manner. He was booked into the jail and Department of Juvenile Justice contacted. He was released back into the custody of his parents, pending a future court date by order of Juvenile Justice.

A precautionary boil water notice in Palatka is over after a bacteriological survey showed the water is safe for drinking. The city issued the warning Tuesday after a water pressure issue hit sections of South 13th Street, St. Johns Avenue and Laurel Street.

Menendez High School has a new head football coach – Matt Potak. He’s no stranger to St. Johns County having coached at Gamble Rogers Middle School for years. The school’s football program is considered the best in the county.

St. Johns County Sheriff’s detectives are seeking information in the death of a 24-year-old Middleburg woman whose body was found early Sunday along A1A North in the Ponte Vedra area. Brianna Gibson and her boyfriend were last reported seen at the Circle K on Old St Augustine Road shortly before 1 a.m. Her body was found at 4:30 a.m. in Ponte Vedra. Sheriff’s detectives are seeking any information on their location between those times.

A St. Johns County man has been arrested on 15 counts of possession of child pornography. The case began in late October of last year after information was received on an unknown subject using the internet to download child pornography. The investigation led to a warrant for Dr. Tony Anastasios Tsitos, 88, of St. Augustine. He traveled to the Ft. Lauderdale area following a search warrant being issued for his residence. He was booked into the Broward County jail before being transported back to St. Johns County jail on a $150,000 bond.

Florida Department of Health in Putnam County on Thursday reported 22 new coronavirus cases with two transfers into county. Total since counting began in March is 5,545 coronavirus cases. In Flagler County 13 cases were reported, for a total of 5,405. In St. Johns County, 67 new cases were reported for a total of 18,743 cases.

The play’s the thing as Palm Coast’s City Repertory Theater and Palm Coast Arts Foundation team up for a production of Two For The Seesaw this weekend and next. However, coronavirus has the actors filming the venture that can be watched online. Anne Kraft, co-founder of Limelight Theatre in St. Augustine and a frequent performer with City Repertory, is directing.

Looking for something new to do? Try Gina’s Gourmet Grill at the Palatka riverfront. Open Thursday through Sunday, the mini-food truck serves up breakfast and lunch. Made-on-the site meals make the newly opened venture special.

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