Lot where Somer Thompson killed to become garden

ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- The Orange Park lot that used to be home to the house where 7-year-old Somer Thompson was killed won't remain empty for long. In fact, the lot at 1152 Gano Avenue will soon be home to a memorial garden.

It's all thanks to a partnership between the Somer Thompson Foundation and Bring Food Forests to Northeast Florida, a grass roots group devoted to preserving public lands and supporting home schooled students with educational opportunities.

Next month, stakeholders will break ground on the project, which will become a self-sustaining organic garden and memorial to the young life cut short at the address.

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Teens charged with attempted murder in botched drug deal

ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- Two Clay County teens face attempted murder charges after an alleged drug deal turned armed robbery ended in gunfire late Tuesday night, according to the Clay County Sheriff's Office.

Maurice Mururi Muniu, 17, and Elvis Sijamhodzic, 18, both of Orange Park, each are charged with attempted second-degree murder and armed robbery after allegedly trying to rip off their classmate at gunpoint.

According to arrest reports, Muniu had arranged over the phone and on Instagram to buy about 10 grams of marijuana from the victim. The pair had agreed to meet at the intersection of Hanging Moss Drive and Savannah Glenn Boulevard near the victim's home after 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Man shoots himself after SWAT standoff in Orange Park

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — A man has shot and killed himself after a stand-off with Clay County SWAT, police confirmed Monday.

Aaron Shene, 22, shot himself after an unsuccessful negotiation by Clay County SWAT.

According to police, the incident began before midnight on Sunday at Aries Drive in Orange Park. Officers received a report that a woman was falsely imprisoned by a man she knew.

That man, later identified as Shene fled on foot by jumping out of a window. Deputies searched for Shene and believed him to be suicidal based on witnesses' reports.

Police found Shene a little before 8 a.m. this morning hiding in a vacant home on Neptune Road.

Clay County SWAT was then called to the scene and negotiations were soon began but ultimately proved unsuccessful.

No one else was injured during the confrontation.

Woman dies in Orange Park house fire

ORANGE PARK, Fla. — A woman was killed in a house fire in Orange Park on Friday morning, Clay County Fire Rescue said.


Cindi Kikta was a retired Clay County school employee, the family confirms. The family also says the fire was caused by a space heater.

"She just had it up front with and the dogs, kept them warm, " said her son Sean Hall who learned of the fire on FaceBook.

"A friend on FaceBook said there is a fire on Parkside Avenue. I tried calling her, no response," said Hall who noted his brother got in touch with a neighbor to confirm it was his mother's house.

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A/C overheats at Clay Humane Society

ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- Clay County Fire Rescue was called to deal with an overheated air conditioner at the Clay County Humane Society Tuesday evening.

Two engines were sent to the Humane Society, located at 2230 Filmore Street, just after 5 p.m., spokesperson Bernita Bush told First Coast News.

When the first engine arrived, there was no smoke visible from outside. There's still no word on what kind of damage the interior sustained.

We'll update this story as we learn more.

Branan Field Overpass fix could take 2 months, $1.5M

ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- Repairs to the Branan Fields Overpass on Plantation Oaks Boulevard in Orange Park are expected to take up to two months and $1.5 million to complete, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.

On Monday, FDOT is expected to start talking about potential contractors for the project. In the meantime, an agency spokesperson says the bridge will remain closed for the next 45-60 days, though FDOT is offering a $200,000 incentive for the chosen contractor if they can complete the project within 45 days.

The bridge, frequented mostly by Oakleaf Plantation residents, was shut down Thursday following a failed inspection by FDOT. Agency spokesperson Ron Tittle said inspectors found that a concrete culvert at the site is not up to par.

Even so, Tittle said there's no danger of a collapse.

Family's pet struck by speeding golf cart

ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- Nadine Paffe, 26, works three jobs to provide for her family and her pets. What happened Nov. 30 has left her devastated: the family dog was hit by a speeding golf cart, Paffe says.

"She's a great, great dog," said Paffe. "I love this dog.

Sheila, a seven-year-old Australian Shepherd, was in the front yard playing with the kids. Everyone went in and Sheila ran after a ball near the curb. That's when she was reportedly hit by a speeding golf cart driver.

"He came around the corner, didn't see her and ran completely over her," Paffe said.

The nanny, Halley Chute, ran from the house and saw the driver over the dog, but he denied hitting her.

"I did a police report," said Paffe. "They documented it as a hit and run because he denied it."