The Voice of the Gem City

News April 11, 2022

A 27-year-old Interlachen man ended a seven-hour standoff early this morning after he surrendered to Putnam County Sheriff’s deputies at a residence on Country Road 315 South in Interlachen. They had been searching for him following a Sunday episode in Melrose where he allegedly struck a family member in the face with a closed fist and choked the victim. This morning deputies were called to the Interlachen house at 12:11 a.m. where Lewis was reported to have stolen a firearm two days earlier from a locked safe belonging to another person also living at the house. Deputies got the other occupants out but Lewis, who has been convicted several times, refused to exit saying he “wasn’t going back to prison.” On April 1 he was released by the Department of Corrections following a two-year sentence for domestic battery with strangulation in Alachua County. Because of Lewis possibly having a firearm plus his violent and erratic behavior over the past couple of days, deputies, after trying to talk him out, twice deployed pepper spray canisters and, at 7:19 a.m., Lewis came out after the second one. He is in the Putnam County jail charged with domestic battery by strangulation and other charges are pending.

A Palm Coast woman ended a seven-hour standoff with Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies by shooting herself and diving into a pool at her home on Emerald Lake Drive in Palm Coast Plantation. Deputies jumped in after Julie Ann Demers, 43, and she was taken to Advent Health Palm Coast before being flown to Daytona Beach with a severe head injury. She died at 5 p.m. ending an episode that began before 8 a.m. Sunday with a call regarding a domestic situation. For a time she held her husband hostage at gunpoint as their 16-year-old son hid. The two eventually were able to exit safely. Despite numerous efforts by the Sheriff’s negotiations team, the woman would not talk with them.

A new Crescent City Junior-Senior High School is closer to reality after a state committee determined a new facility to be a project of critical need. The Special Facilities Pre-Application Review Committee, put in place by the Florida Department of Education, announced their decision Friday. Several more steps are required before the district may get special state funds. This is one of nine schools the district wants to rebuild in what will require a bond issue in order to pay for the district’s share of the projects.

Putnam County Commission holds workshops beginning at 2 p.m. Tuesday, first, in their capacity as Port Authority and then as the commission, where they’ll be looking at budget development for fiscal year 2023 personnel and funding of constitutional officers. Also on the agenda at the request of Commissioner Jeff Rawls will be a discussion of WastePro yard debris and a general discussion about the Bostwick community building.

Putnam County Sheriff’s Office is seeking Jodi Cox Williams, 44, of Palatka after her bond was revoked in a 2018 case where she left the scene of a crash with a death. If you have information as to her location, contact CrimeStoppers of NE Florida at 1-888-277-8477,

Sometimes you get a purr out of law enforcement work. Palatka Police officers and Putnam County Sheriff’s Office deputies were flagged down by a motorist on 16th and Olive streets Friday because of a weird noise coming from the car. Deputies found a small calico kitten, caught in a tire and too scared to come out. The office’s fleet manager came to the rescue and, according to a Facebook post, “at the speed that could rival a NASCAR pit crew” got the tire off and the kitten out. The kitten is now at Putnam County Animal Control to be checked out. He’s been nicknamed “Trooper” and adoption inquiries coming in.

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