69 candidates apply to become next Fort Pierce police chief

FORT PIERCE — Police officers from California to Ferguson, Missouri, and from New Haven, Connecticut, to Miami Gardens have applied to be the city’s next police chief.

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Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/franchise/shaping-our-future/69-candidates-apply-to-become-next-fort-pierce-police-chief_20048308

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Salvage ship arriving by Wednesday to raise sunken barge in Fort Pierce Inlet

FORT PIERCE — A salvage barge is heading to Fort Pierce from Mobile, Alabama, to raise a 100- by 40-foot barge that sank last week in the inlet, but officials don’t know how long the job will take, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokeswoman said Monday.

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Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/local-news/st-lucie-county/salvage-ship-arriving-by-wednesday-to-raise-sunken-barge-in-fort-pierce-inlet_59071400

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Fort Pierce PD: Woman, 24, shot behind Elks Lodge; detectives seek female …

Fort Pierce police have confirmed that a 24-year-old woman was shot while sitting in her car around 1:40 a.m. Monday morning in the rear parking lot of the Elks Lodge at 25th and Avenue M in Fort Pierce.


The victim, who has not yet been identified, is listed in critical condition.

Witnesses say the victim and suspect had been involved in an argument through the night.

Detectives are following strong leads and say they looking for a female suspect.

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New Mugshots: Who got arrested in South Florida in 2015?

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Here are some mug shots of people who have been arrested in or close to the WPBF 25 News viewing area in 2015. It’s important to note that a record of an arrest is not an indication of guilt.

Gallery Endcap

Article source: http://www.wpbf.com/news/fort-pierce-pd-woman-24-shot-behind-elks-lodge-detectives-seek-female-suspect/31562806

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Boat travel loosened on Fort Pierce Inlet; Victim who died after barge sank …

FORT PIERCE, Fla. – U.S. Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released more information Thursday on the sunken barge in the Fort Pierce Inlet.

According to a Coast Guard representative, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working with Resolve Marine Savage out of Fort Lauderdale to remove the barge from the Fort Pierce Inlet.

The U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday they loosened the safety zone around inlet. Recreational vessels with less than six-foot draft are now allowed to transit through the inlet safety zone after receiving clearance from the on-scene representative.

All other persons and vessels are prohibited from entering, transiting through, anchoring in, or remaining within any of the safety zone unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Miami or a designated representative.

The safety zone is located at the entrance of Fort Pierce Inlet and was established Wednesday to protect the public from hazards associated with a sunken barge.

Representatives who spoke at a news conference Thursday morning said it’s still unclear how long the removal of the barge will take.

According to the Coast Guard, it won’t be easy to remove the sunken barge from the inlet.

A spokesman says the barge is split into two pieces and has created a debris field in the inlet.

He says the barge was at least 100 feet long and 40 feet wide and had a small shack on board.

“All agencies are working as quick as we can to get this debris field moved,” said Chief Warrant Officer Randy Ryan, commanding officer at Coast Guard Station Fort Pierce.

The inlet is about 40 feet deep, but with the debris the depth has shrunk to about 10 to 15 feet, according to Coast Guard officials.

This has created a huge safety hazard in the waterway, which is why the Coast Guard still has a “safety zone” in effect, which means boats aren’t able to travel in or out of the waterway.

Officials say the contracted workers who are removing the debris will first use sonar imaging to determine how large the debris field is.

Once they can complete that, workers will then clear the debris and remove the wreckage.

Right now, weather is affecting visibility in the water which makes things even more difficult for divers who have to assess the problem.

According to St. Lucie County Commissioner Chris Dzadovsky, the closure of the inlet is costing the diving community $30,000 a day.

The Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating the boating accident that led to the sunken barge.

Officer Amanda Phillips with the FWC says Dominick Tortorice died as a result of the accident, possibly by drowning.

The others on board the barge were Charles Griffin and Reed Adams.

According to the FWC, Rodney Grambo was on board the boat that was pulling the barge.

Investigators are asking for your help. If you or someone you know has video or pictures of the barge or incident the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission asks that you send them to Tip@MyFWC.com . 

Recreational vessels with less than six-foot draft are now allowed to pass through the Fort Pierce Inlet safety zone upon receiving clearance from the on-scene representative.

Article source: http://www.wptv.com/news/region-st-lucie-county/fort-pierce/fort-pierce-inlet-remains-closed-victim-who-died-after-barge-sank-identified

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Unclear when Fort Pierce Inlet will be fully operational due to barge wreckage

FORT PIERCE — Efforts to clear the sunken barge from the Fort Pierce Inlet continued Friday, but it remained unclear when the inlet will be operating as normal.

On Thursday, the inlet was opened to smaller vessels with a 6-foot draft, but a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official said Friday the contractor working on the project might have to bring a boat from Mobile, Alabama, to hoist up the barge wreckage.

“The good thing about this being in Fort Pierce is that there’s not a tremendous amount of commercial cargo that comes in and out of Fort Pierce as compared to Port Everglades or Miami,” said Jerry Scarborough, chief of the water resources branch in project management with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Jacksonville. “If this had happened at one of those ports you would have huge ships or cargo ships waiting to get in and get out.”

A 54-foot boat on Tuesday was towing the barge in the inlet, struggling against the outgoing tide. The decades-old barge took on water and sank. A Miami man died in the incident. The operator of the 54-foot boat — Rodney Grambo, 53, of Middleburg — and two others survived.

The 100- by 40-foot barge split in two as it sank in about 40 feet of water.

“This is considered an emergency situation,” Scarborough said. “Obviously, if it’s blocking a federal navigation channel like Fort Pierce Inlet then the object is to get that cleared and out of the way as quickly as possible.”

Resolve Marine Group of Fort Lauderdale is working to coordinate the salvage operations.

Scarborough said the barge debris is so large that Resolve may have to summon a boat from Mobile, Alabama. A spokeswoman for Resolve was unable to provide information on that boat.

“We’ll know exactly what’s happening by Monday,” Scarborough said.

Scarborough said a similar incident happened about two years ago in San Juan Harbor in Puerto Rico. He said a plane crashed in the inlet, closing the harbor. That required emergency measures to get the plane out of the water.

“We were able to do it in just a matter of a couple of days but it was a big deal and this is a big deal, too,” he said.

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/local-news/st-lucie-county/unclear-when-fort-pierce-inlet-will-be-fully-operational-due-to-barge-wreckage_76455437

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Barge sinks in the Fort Pierce Inlet.

FORT PIERCE — The U.S. Coast Guard is now allowing larger boats through the hazard zone at the Fort Pierce Inlet, officials said Sunday.

All boats with hulls less than 25 feet deep in the water may pass with caution. Deeper boats still are barred, unless approved by federal officials.

On Tuesday a 100-foot by 40-foot barge sank in the middle of inlet’s federal navigation channel, killing a Miami man. The aging barge was being towed north from South Florida when it sank and broke in two, creating an underwater navigation hazard.

On Thursday officials began allowing recreational boats with less than a six-foot draft to go through the zone, if given permission.

“I still want to remind boaters to use extreme caution when transiting the inlet to ensure safe passage for all,” said Miami Coast Guard Capt. Austin Gould in a prepared news release.

Officials at the Coast Guard station at the inlet continue monitoring boating in the inlet.

Federal contractors have started installing lighted buoys to mark the area where the barge sank. The buoys will be at the east and west ends of the area where the barge sank. It went down at the ocean side of the inlet that connects the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon.

There is still no official word on when work on removing the barge will start. The Corps of Engineers hired a marine salvage company, Resolve Marine Group, of Fort Lauderdale, on an emergency basis to come and remove the wreckage.


Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/local-news/st-lucie-county/additional-boats-allowed-at-fort-pierce-inlet-where-barge-sank_44217645

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Death in Fort Pierce Inlet prompts establishment of safety zone

The U.S. Coast Guard has established a safety zone in the Fort Pierce Inlet after a person died in the water Tuesday, according to a news release.

Coast Guard officials responded to the waterway Tuesday for reports of a sinking barge. They rescued three people and a dog, but one person was found dead. He has not been identified.

The safety zone restricts the following:

  • swimming
  • diving
  • fishing
  • mooring
  • anchoring
  • passing and overtaking other transiting vessels

There is no timetable for when the inlet will fully re-open.

Article source: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/death-in-fort-pierce-inlet-prompts-establishment-o/nkJcM/

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Fort Pierce police searching for man accused of raping woman near park

FORT PIERCE, Fla. – FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Fort Pierce police are looking for a man who they say raped a woman near a park Tuesday evening.

Police say the attack happened near Avenue M and 12th Street.

The woman told police that she had seen the man in the past. She said he approached her at the park and was yelling random comments.

She pulled out pepper spray, but before she could unlock the spray, she told police he grabbed her and raped her.

Police have increased patrols in that area.

Park visitors are also on watch.

Jonel Joisil plays basketball a couple times a week at night at the park, even knowing it might not always be the safest place.

“My Dad always told me to stay away from this area,” Joisil said.

He plays underneath court lighting so he feels safe.

“I haven’t encountered any problems, any fights or gang related violence,” he says.

After hearing of the alleged rape, he’s being cautious.

“It’s very unfortunate,” said Joisil.

Police describe the suspect as a black male with gold on his bottom teeth, a diamond earring in his left ear, a short box edge haircut, a goatee and a t-shirt that said “Check my Swag”.

Article source: http://www.wptv.com/news/region-st-lucie-county/fort-pierce/fort-pierce-police-searching-for-man-accused-of-raping-woman-near-park

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1 dies after barge sinks; Fort Pierce Inlet closed to boat traffic indefinitely

FORT PIERCE — Bonnie Sue Stephan said it was like watching a real-life “Titanic” in the Fort Pierce Inlet.

“It was taking on more water and more water and more water … it went up, I saw a guy jump off, and then down, and that was it,” the 61-year-old said.

She called 911 as she saw the barge, being pulled by a large boat, struggling before sinking Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, state officials were still trying to identify a man who died after being unable to escape the barge, which split in two as it sank. Coast Guard officials rescued two other people on the barge and one on the boat, all uninjured, as well as a dog, Little Mister.

On Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers will survey the barge and determine how it can be removed from the inlet.

“That is a very big job,” said Amanda Phillips, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman. She said there’s no pollution coming from the sunken vessel.

Until it’s removed, the inlet is closed. That means only small boats that create no wake can use the inlet.

“We don’t want boats to accidentally hit (the barge) … that’s why the inlet is shut down,” Phillips said.

Susan Jackson, a Corps of Engineers spokeswoman, said in an email she anticipated the barge being removed Thursday.


Reed Adams, 58, who Wednesday munched crackers and drank water as he stood with his dog Little Mister, rode the barge and recalled what happened just before it sank.

Reed Adams

The group of men left Key Biscayne around noon Monday en route to Georgia. They were delivering the barge, with a small shelter — like a house — on top to be used in a treasure hunting operation, Adams said. He didn’t know any other details.

There were leaks in the barge’s bow, but there also were pumps to push out any accumulating water, he said. They were traveling at about 4 to 5 knots.

He described the boat towing the barge as a work boat with two, 12-cylinder engines.

About 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, the men noticed they were taking on too much water in the barge, and needed to either stop to make repairs or head toward shore. About 3 p.m. they headed in to Fort Pierce.

Outside the inlet they shortened the tow lines to about 50 to 75 feet.

“When we came in the inlet, the tide was rushing out, low tide, it was flying,” Adams said. “We were coming in over the rollers and it was taking water … in the lip of the front of the barge.”

He said they were making no headway, so the man controlling the throttle on the towing boat accelerated.

“We were wide open and (thrust from the propeller) just blew a big hole in the front of the barge,” he said. “We were taking water faster than we could get rid of it.”

Adams grabbed Little Mister and got the dinghy. He said the man who died was working to free the lines affixing the barge to the boat. He couldn’t recall the man’s name.

He said the whole cabin started to collapse, and the barge started to break in half.

“He got sucked down into the hull and the mast came down and hit the boat that I was on and spun it around,” Adams said.

Phillips said one of two pumps removing water from the barge had stopped and the barge sank.

“The boat that was attached to it was basically now anchored to this barge,” Phillips said. That 54-foot boat is not damaged, she said.

Phillips said the body of the man was recovered about 3 to 4 miles offshore.

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/local-news/st-lucie-county/sunken-barge-apparently-closes-fort-pierce-inlet-to-boat-traffic_82769072

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Fort Pierce man killed in Martin County crash

A 24-year-old Fort Pierce man died Tuesday morning in a two-vehicle collision in Sewall’s Point, authorities said.

Michael Ryan Coker was killed when his motorcycle collided with a car shortly before 8:30 a.m. on State A1A and River Road, according to a Florida Highway Patrol crash report. Investigators say Coker was traveling west on A1A when a Volkswagen Beetle made a turn directly in front of him.

Coker’s motorcycle hit the passenger side of the Volkswagen. He died at the scene The Volkswagen’s driver, identified as Traci Bruno, 51, of Stuart, was not injured.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Article source: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/fort-pierce-man-killed-in-martin-county-crash/nkJDm/

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