This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Putnam County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate a domestic incident Tuesday that ended with the apparent suicide of an East Palatka man who reportedly held his wife hostage for nearly a day. The Sheriff’s Office did not release names or addresses although deputies’ vehicles and the SWAT team were on scene at a residence on Putnam County Boulevard between Dog Branch and Stewart roads. Three houses reportedly along the road. The woman came to the Sheriff’s Office at 3:43 a.m. Tuesday to report she had escaped after being held against her will by her ex-husband. The victim said she went to the couple’s previously shared residence in East Palatka about 2 p.m. Monday to get a family pet after being told the pet would be killed if not retrieved. The ex-husband then forced her into the residence at gunpoint, she said. He restrained her and would not permit her to leave, then battered her multiple times throughout the day and into the evening. When restraints were removed so she could go to the bathroom, a struggle ensued and the man’s firearm went off multiple times with one round striking him in the foot. He put her back in restraints and continued abusing her, according to the sheriff’s office report. When the suspect passed out, the victim used a knife to cut the restraints and grabbed the gun before leaving. Her cell phone had been damaged so she returned to her residence. A friend then accompanied her to the Sheriff’s Office to report the incident. Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Bureau secured a search warrant and arrest warrant. The Sheriff’s SWAT Team was summoned to serve the warrant at the residence after they learned the suspect owned multiple firearms. The man didn’t respond to attempts to communicate. When entry was made the suspect was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted injury, according to the Sheriff’s Office. In response to several questions on Facebook about the pet, the Sheriff’s Office said it was being cared for by the Putnam Animal Control Services until the victim could pick it up.
It’s official — Costco is opening in St. Johns County. The membership-only, big box retail store opening is set for Aug. 3 at 8 a.m. The store is at 655 World Commerce Parkway near World Golf Village. It’s near where Buc-ee’s, the 104-pump super-gas station/shopping mart, recently opened. Residents in the area say traffic has been steadily increasing as more business develops int the area north of St. Augustine.
About 150 new laws will go into effect Friday in Florida, passed by the Florida Legislature. They include a $109.9 billion budget. One affecting Putnam County will be SB 1038 that gives the county until July 1 2024, to do a feasibility study to determine if a port could be created on the St. Johns River in Palatka. Plans to raise the bridge at Green Cove Springs could make that more of an option. Another bill HB 7053 creates a new resiliency office that expands the Resilient Florida Grant Program. All that’s tied in with concerns about rising sea levels. Both St. Johns and Flagler counties have been looking into how that will affect their coastal residences and structures.
Political season is heating up including debates. In Melrose Tuesday people were at a political forum listening to candidates in area races including the Putnam County Commission. If you go to Interlachen for the Fourth of July you’ll hear and see more candidates. The parade on Interlachen’s Fourth has always been a chance for candidates to see and be seen. Another forum is set for July 11th in Bostwick.
Speaking of Fourth of July, lots of fireworks and events planned this year. COVID tamped down events for the last two years, but this year will see a resurgence. A reminder Flagler Beach won’t have a fireworks display but will hold their annual Fourth of July parade. Palm Coast, meanwhile, is planning their celebration for July 3 with Fireworks Over the Runways at the Flagler Executive Airport. Palm Coast-based Fireworks by Santore will produce the show. Gates open at 4 p.m. and festivities begin with live bands including Chillula and Feedback the Band. At 7 p.m. Independence Day ceremonies begin. Fireworks are scheduled for 9 p.m.
Several animal groups are reminding people that the Fourth of July isn’t so much fun for animals. The loud noise from fireworks often frightens animals so don’t take them to the displays and do think about having your pet chipped.