Double homicide investigated in avila community
Hillsborough County deputies were investigating a double homicide at a home in the exclusive Avila community Monday night, sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said. The names of the victims had not yet been released. It began to unfold at 7:53 p.m., she said, when a deputy responded to two calls about a home on Taray De Avila in the neighborhood. The first call was about shots being fired, she said. But the deputy backed out when he saw two bodies, and authorities were awaiting a search warrant late Monday to enter the home. "It's definitely a homicide," Carter said. Authorities were not searching Monday night for anyone.
Fire department SUV hits, kills pedestrian
A pedestrian was killed Monday evening after he walked in front of an oncoming Clearwater Fire Department vehicle, authorities said. The accident occurred about 6:15 p.m. at Drew Street and Orangeview Avenue. Clearwater police said Assistant Fire Chief Marvin Pettingill, a 16-year veteran, was on his way to a house fire, driving a Chevy Suburban with emergency lights and sirens on. For unknown reasons, pedestrian Johnny Matney, 41, of 103 N Orangeview Drive, walked into traffic and was hit by the SUV. Police believe alcohol was a factor on the part of the pedestrian. Matney died at the scene. Pettingill was not injured.
Rouson won't seek state Senate seat
State Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, won't be running for state Senate after all. Last year, the 57-year-old attorney said he was interested in running for the District 13 seat held by state Sen. Dennis Jones, R-Treasure Island, who is leaving because of term limits. But Rouson dropped those plans last week and filed to seek re-election to the House 55 seat he's held since 2008. With the session set to begin today, Rouson said he didn't want the distraction of running for a larger Senate district, especially without knowing where district lines will be drawn. His decision leaves the Senate district open for state Rep. Jim Frishe, R-St. Petersburg, who had raised $115,189 by October. Rouson's change of heart triggered a chain reaction. Former St. Petersburg Council member Rene Flowers had filed to run for Rouson's House seat, but dropped out after he told her he was seeking re-election. Community activist Sharon Russ is Rouson's lone opponent.
FAA waiver means cranes can fly south
The young whooping cranes stranded in Alabama since mid December will soon be back on their way to Florida after the Federal Aviation Administration on Monday granted a temporary waiver allowing paid ultralight pilots who have been leading the birds to fly.