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Police: Florida man fires gun, scares off teen daughter's kidnappers

A quick-acting father and an alert neighbor helped thwart an attempted kidnapping and armed home invasion robbery Tuesday night in Florida, according to police reports.

Alerted by his 17-year-old daughter, the 51-year-old homeowner in Baker grabbed his gun and fired three shots at four intruders outside his garage, forcing them to flee into the woods, the Palm Beach Post reported. A neighbor gave police a description of the vehicle the suspects were spotted in, and it was stopped nearby, according to a Facebook post on the official Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office page.

RELATED: Florida teen kidnapped on her way to prom 

>> Read more trending news

Deputies arrested four Crestview teens: 19-year-old Keilon Johnson, 17-year-old Austin French, 16-year-old Tyree Johnson and 15-year-old Kamauri Horn. They allegedly were armed with a knife, guns and a roll of tape for an apparent kidnap attempt. Inside the SUV, deputies also found gloves, masks and dark clothing, according to the police report. 

The plot went awry from the beginning, when the 17-year-old girl ran into a roadblock of barrels on her road while driving home. But she simply drove around them, then reported it to her father. The suspects told police that they believed the father is wealthy.

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When the suspects approached the house, the homeowner was tipped off by his dogs barking and his motion-activated flood lights. When he heard his car door closing, he retrieved his gun, the Palm Beach Post reported.

The four defendants were charged with attempted kidnapping and attempted home invasion robbery. Johnson was in the Okaloosa County Jail, while the others were sent to a Department of Juvenile Justice facility, the police report said. 

Mugshots: Arrest photos from Palm Beach County

Paramedic requires treatment after helping suspected opioid overdose patient

An Ohio paramedic required medical treatment Thursday night after helping someone suffering from a suspected opioid overdose, according to Fairborn city manager Rob Anderson.

MORE: Officer’s overdose leads to public health warning

“Police and fire responded to a call last evening and administered life support to a patient on a suspected overdose,” Anderson told the Dayton Daily News. “In the course of treating the patient and cleaning up the scene, one of our paramedics got a secondary exposure.”

>> Read more trending news

The paramedic started to show signs of an overdose and was administered Narcan, an opioid overdose reversal drug. The paramedic was taken to Soin Medical Center and treated, the Dayton Daily News reported.

Anderson said “several other” paramedics and police officers were additionally exposed to the suspected opioid, but were not as severely impacted.

MORE: Soaring overdoses strain emergency crews from neighboring cities

“As far as we know, everybody is fine,” Anderson said. “I believe everybody has recovered.”

Anderson said he believes several employees at Soin were also impacted. Kettering Health Network would not discuss whether their employees were impacted, citing privacy concerns.

Washington State escort accused of shooting client in the head

Prosecutors in Washington State said an escort shot a man in the head twice in his home, then stole his wallet and gun before running away. The man survived, police said.

>> Read more trending news

Investigators in Snohomish County arrested the suspect, 21-year-old Marissa Wallen on Tuesday, and she made her first court appearance via video camera Wednesday. 

Probable cause documents say Wallen shot the 36-year-old victim while the two were engaged in sexual activity at his North Everett home.

“I was stunned on Tuesday when the first detective came to our door,” said Mark Barnum, who lives next door. “He said your neighbor was shot twice in the head.”

The probable cause document said Wallen admitted to shooting her client in the back of the head, while they were engaged in sexual activity, and that "she fired a second shot that struck him in the side of the face.”

Wallen “said that she then took his wallet (off) his night stand and fled the location, believing, he was dead on his bedroom floor,” according to the probable cause document.

The victim's neighbor said he heard a noise. 

“I heard what sounded like two or three taps coming from the wall,” Barnum said. “It was notable because we don't usually hear anything.” 

He said he thought the noise could have been a hammer at first, until he talked with detectives. 

“It just kind of shocking to think perhaps that was maybe - maybe those were the shots. Maybe it was [the victim]. And I feel really badly that I was unable to help,” Barnum said 

An officer found the victim three days after the shooting. 

During a welfare check, the officer found the victim “sitting up against a wall in the master bedroom… he had a lot of dried blood on his head and he was awake, but unresponsive,” the documents said.

A CT scan found two bullets still in the victim’s head.

Neighbors say he works in tech.

“He keeps to himself a lot, he's got his computer stuff up there. He handles a lot of websites, it security,” said Erik Buxton, another neighbor. We’ll talk, he’s a nice guy.” 

Documents say he had cameras that captured Wallen inside the home and running down the driveway. 

Wallen is also accused of using the victim's credit cards to rack up more than $10,000  in charges

Documents say the victim "had been hiring female escorts and frequenting a strip club in Seattle, where he was bragging about how much money he earned and belongings he had at his house.” 

“He liked to kind of flash his money a little bit. It's what's going to happen - you're going to attract negative people along the way,” Buxton said. 

But neighbors say they're just glad he survived. 

“He got a long hard road ahead of him, so I wish him well,” Barnum said. “I’m just so glad that for him and his family that he’s going to pull through.”

A judge Wednesday said Wallen had warrants out for her arrest and a long string of failures to appear, and set her bail for $1 million. 

Jenner Matthews was arrested in connection with the case Tuesday. The probable cause document said Wallen made payments to him through Facebook using the victim’s accounts.

Officers were able to communicate with the victim at the hospital with gestures, but court documents say the victim is unable to speak.

Police: Florida woman swaps bar codes, buys electronics for $3.70 at Walmart 

A Florida woman was arrested Monday at a Walmart, accused of paying only $3.70 at a self-checkout line for more than $1,800 worth of electronics after she allegedly swapped bar codes, police said.

>> Read more trending news

According to a Walmart loss prevention officer, Cheyenne Amber West, 25, of Fort Pierce, and another woman entered the company’s store in Vero Beach on Nov. 6 and began taking video controllers, a computer and other items from the electronics department, WPIX reported. They then allegedly went to the clearance section and swapped bar codes on the boxes. After proceeding to a self-checkout counter, the pair allegedly scanned the items, worth $1,825.20, but paid only $3.70, officials said.

According to an arrest affidavit by the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, West, who is a waitress, said “I am just trying to get gifts for my son that I cannot afford. The computer is for my husband. Since he just got me a Coach purse, I figured he deserved something nice as well.”

West was charged with felony grand theft and shoplifting, according to the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office. She was released on Nov. 7 after paying her $3,000 posted bond. She will appear in court on Dec. 13, according to the arrest affidavit.

Retired Navy veteran accused of killing girl found on lawn of Charlotte church

A retired Navy veteran was arrested Wednesday in connection with the murder of Ashanti Billie, 19, whose body was found on the lawn of a church in northwest Charlotte in September.

>> Read more trending news

Eric Brown, 45, is suspected of having abducted Billie, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Sept. 18 as she arrived for work at a Blimpie’s restaurant on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach, according to court documents.

Brown has been charged with murder and kidnapping. He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police also charged Brown with murder.

Brown was first arrested for separate charges in Virginia last month before detectives linked him to Billie’s death, officials said.

Charlotte resident Warren Stukes said that his children grew up with Brown and he was shocked at the age of the woman he is accused of murdering.

"Nineteen? That's even worse," Stukes said. “That's a young girl who has not lived her life. He lived his life."

On Sept. 29, Billie’s body was found in a wooded area behind East Stonewall AME Zion Church about 300 yards from Brown’s childhood home.

Police said Billie was the subject of a missing persons investigation in Norfolk, Virginia. She had been missing since Sept. 18.

"She was happy here,” Ashanti Billie’s mother, Brandy Billie, said about Virginia Beach. “She liked it here and to think this is where it ended for her."

Brown, who spent 21 years in the Navy, worked as a day laborer and helped with the construction of the Blimpie’s this past summer.

Brown was homeless and lived in random facilities and buildings on and off the naval bases, police said.

Billie’s coworkers said that Brown would visit the Blimpie’s almost every day, and that he was seen so often in the neighboring buildings, that they believed Brown worked there.

Video surveillance recorded Billie’s car entering the base at 4:58 a.m. Sept. 18 and circling the Blimpie’s at 5 a.m.

The driver of the vehicle in both videos was a person wearing dark-colored clothing, consistent with the clothing Billie was reportedly wearing.

Video surveillance recorded a person in light-colored clothing in Billie’s car driving out of the base at about 5:33 a.m.

At about 5:44 a.m., residential video surveillance recorded a person wearing light-colored clothing, driving a car consistent with Billie’s, stop at a construction dumpster in Norfolk.

A few hours later, construction workers found Billie’s cellphone in the dumpster.

Billie’s car was found in Norfolk on Sept. 23.

Inside the car, agents recovered Billie’s pants, which contained dirt and debris. The undercarriage of the car also contained dirt and vegetative debris.

Several witnesses described seeing a car like Billie’s during the week of Sept. 18 parked at various locations in Charlotte neighborhoods, near where Billie’s body was found. The property where the body was found is owned by and located next to the church where Brown attended vacation Bible school as a child.

"To know that this man took the time out to go back to the church where he went to Bible study at when he was a child, like how do you do that? That's sickening," said Kimberly Wimbish, a spokeswoman for Billie’s family.

Brown’s wireless internet usage data indicated that he used his mobile devices nearly every day from Sept. 1 to Sept. 29.

The only day in that time period that there was no usage data is Sept. 18, which is the day Billie went missing, police said.

Brown’s wireless internet usage data also indicated that he was on the base from Sept. 14 until late in the evening of Sept. 17, which is when all usage data stopped until starting again Sept. 19.

A review of security camera video from all of the gates on the base revealed no evidence of Brown ever leaving the base from Sept. 14 through Sept. 18.

A records check of base entry logs indicated that Brown re-entered Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek on the afternoon of Sept. 19.

During an Oct. 27 interview with law enforcement, Brown told agents he was on the base in Little Creek on the evening of Sept. 17, and that at one point, he blacked out and had no recollection of what he did for several days after that.

When discussing the abduction and murder of Billie, Brown confirmed that he could not remember if he did anything to Billie, according to law enforcement. 

In federal documents, a witness said Brown told them he hated African-American women.

"It is disgraceful and I will not accept PTSD," Wimbish said of Brown’s claims regarding his memory.

Brown appeared in court Wednesday and is being held in Norfolk.

"For me, I'm looking to stack every charge that we can put on him," said Ashanti Billie’s father, Meltony Billie.

Eric Brown’s family member, DeVona Brown Alleyne, released the following statement Wednesday evening:

"Along with multiple communities along the East Coast, we, the Brown family, are deeply saddened at the tragic loss of Ms. Ashanti Billie’s life. We cannot imagine the impact her death has on those lovingly connected to her. Although we are shaken by the recent arrest made, our immediate concern is for those who knew and loved Ms. Billie, and we pray for them to be supported in every way possible. No amount of insight that we could provide would take back the pain they are currently feeling and will likely experience in days, months and years to come. Respectfully, we will offer no additional comment regarding these devastating events."

Nicki Minaj’s brother, Jelani Maraj, convicted in child rape case

Jelani Maraj, the brother of rapper Nicki Minaj, has been found guilty of  predatory sexual assault on a child younger than 13 years old. 

He was tried in Nassau County, New York.

People reported that the conviction on Thursday also included endangering the welfare of a child, according to Nassau County District Attorney Spokesman Brendan Brosh.

>> Read more trending news

The charges say Maraj repeatedly raped an 11-year-old girl at his home in Long Island while the girl’s mother was at work. Brosh said prosecutors alleged the girl was repeatedly raped between April and November 2015.

The victim, who is now 14, testified in detail about the multiple sexual assaults. The girl’s younger brother also testified that he witnessed one incident.

Neither Maraj nor Minaj testified during the trial.

Brosh said Maraj was stoic when the verdict was read. According to Maraj’s lawyer, he will appeal.

Maraj was arrested for in connection with the case on Dec. 2, 2015. He was released from custody on $100,000 bail, reportedly backed by two homes owned by Minaj, according to People.

The Associated Press reported that Maraj, 38, was walked out in handcuff and bail was revoked after the sentencing. 

“Justice demanded that this defendant be held accountable for these heinous acts and we are thankful to the jury for their careful deliberation,” Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement to People. “We hope that today’s verdict will help the family in the healing process and that it will close this terrible chapter in their lives.”

A representative for the rapper did not immediately respond to a request for comment from People or The AP. She has never commented publicly about the charges.

Maraj is at Nassau County Jail until his sentencing Dec. 14. He faces 25 years to life in prison.

Teen shot in head is back to playing basketball after more than a year in recovery

Last year, a Chicago Public Schools honor student was shot in the head and has since made an unbelievable comeback Tuesday night. Damari Hendrix is back on the basketball court this week for the first time since a random shooting nearly took his life.

>> Read more trending news

According to WGN, Hendrix had to go through surgery three times and spent four days in a medically induced coma. He also was forced to learn to walk and talk again. But now he’s running, and his coach says he’s also redefining what’s possible.

>> On Rare.us: There’s a sad statistic about shooting deaths, influenced by Chicago

“Watching them practice, it’s impossible to believe that not long ago, one of these young men lay dying from a gunshot wound to the head,” Brian Rose, Hendrix’s coach, said. Last Labor Day weekend in a park near his home, Hendrix came close to his life ending.

“We just heard ‘shooter,’ and everybody got up running and stuff and I didn’t know I was shot until later on, I was running, my body started shutting down and stuff. I couldn’t see, walk, talk, run no more,” he said.

>> On Rare.us: Facebook Live video catches a fatal Chicago shooting that ended a toddler’s life

Hendrix came back on the court with his teammates at Foreman High School for the first time in 14 months – and all he can do is grin. Hendrix is still working on some fine motor skills but you wouldn’t know by watching him practice – dunking a couple of times.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

“I get a second chance at life. I thought I wasn’t going to make it,” he said. “Up. I only want to go up, get better and better every day.”

Toddler slams into windshield after Florida woman chases boyfriend at 90 mph, deputies say

A woman in Pinellas County was arrested Sunday after a 3-year-old girl flew into the windshield of her car from slamming on the brakes in a 90 mph car chase, deputies said. 

>> Watch the news report here

Before the incident, Justine Olesky, 33, got into a physical fight with her boyfriend while the toddler stood next to her, WFTS reports. 

>> On PalmBeachPost.com: Florida couple had heroin, loaded gun in car with child

Once the boyfriend left, Olesky put the girl in the passenger seat of her car without a seat belt, and then chased after him going 90 mph in a residential neighborhood, according to Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputies. 

>> Read more trending news 

Olesky hit the brakes when she saw her boyfriend, causing the 35-pound child to eject forward and hit her head on the windshield, deputies said. Deputies said the girl hit her head so hard it shattered part of the windshield, leaving blonde strands of hair in the glass, WFTS reports. 

>> On PalmBeachPost.com: VIDEO: Florida women violently beat driver unconscious in road rage incident

When deputies arrived to the scene, they said Olesky did not seem concerned about the child and “continued to talk about her boyfriend,” WFTS reports. 

The child was taken to a local hospital and fortunately did not suffer serious injuries, deputies said. 

Olesky faces charges of child abuse and domestic battery. She is being held at the Pinellas County Jail on a $12,500 bond, according to jail records. 

Read more here.

Python found hidden in man's pants after drunken argument, police say

Police in the southwestern German city of Darmstadt got the shock of their lives when they discovered a python in the pants of a 19-year-old man they had just arrested after a drunken argument, The Guardian reports.

The man was reportedly detained after local residents complained about the loud argument he was having with another man. While searching him, officers noticed a “significant bulge in his trousers,” according to a police statement.

>> On Rare.us: An escaped lynx is blamed for the deaths of 7 sheep near where she went missing

The man then confessed to the officers that he had been concealing a live snake in his pants, and proceeded to reveal a 14-inch royal python — also known as a ball python, authorities said.

He was placed in a cell to sober up and the snake was put in a box. Police said they were trying to track down the python’s owner and examining whether “the non-species-appropriate transport” contravened animal protection regulations. It added that officers were investigating whether any animal protection laws had been broken.

>> Read more trending news 

The ball python is one of 26 python species. They typically inhabits dry grasslands when in the wild, according to Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo. Their diet largely consists of small rodents, and they tend to live about 20 to 25 years in captivity.

Substitute teacher removed from classroom amid sexual battery charges

An Ohio substitute teacher was removed from the classroom and arrested for what Kettering Fairmont High School officials are calling possible “inappropriate activities” with a student.

>> Read more trending news

“We became aware (the teacher was) possibly involved with inappropriate activities with a juvenile,” Kettering Superintendent Scott Inskeep said. “When we become aware of them, then we will remove those people and not have them around our students.”

Inskeep identified the substitute teacher as Madeline Marx, 23, of Brookville. She was booked into jail on two counts of sexual battery, according to police.

Police were notified of the allegations against Marx around 8 a.m. Wednesday, and by 11:45 a.m. the same day, she was arrested after a detective found probable cause for her arrest, Kettering police Lt. Mike Gabrielson said.

According to state records, Marx was issued a four-year teaching license in 2016 to instruct grades K-12.

Inskeep said Marx served as a substitute for the district last year and this year.

Gabrielson could not release any specific details about the accusations, or whether the accused activities happened inside or outside the school, but added that official charges will be presented to the county prosecutor’s office within 48 hours.

Marx has had no previous incidents with Kettering police, Gabrielson said.

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