News

Orange Park man chased by Argentine tegu lizard


ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- Bradley Arington, 24, has seen a lot of things in his lifetime but this was a first and one he will never forget.

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"I was scared, man," he said.

Arington was taking his trash to the curb for pickup when he came face to face with an Argentine tegu.

What's a tegu? A very big lizard.

"I heard this very loud hissing sound and I boogied back inside," said Arington, "and it kept coming at me so I ran."

While it was hiding in his garage, Arington called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation commission. FWC contacted Rod Smith of House of Reptiles who captured the lizard.

Train crushes McLaren stuck on Orange Park tracks


ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- No one was hurt after a train hit a semi truck hauling some expensive cargo stranded on the tracks in Orange Park Friday morning, authorities said.

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According to a spokesperson for the Clay County Sheriff's Office, the semi's driver, Ryan Fung, called the Sheriff's Office about 7:50 a.m. and told dispatchers he had gotten stuck on the tracks near Doctors Lake Drive and Greenridge Road and was about to get hit by the train.

The train, which was moving slowly, struck the semi and pushed it down the tracks, but never derailed, Sheriff's spokesperson Mary Justino told First Coast News. The train wound up going straight through the truck, separating the cab and trailer.

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.

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.

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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.

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.