Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Public safety

Advocacy work earns St. Petersburg woman national crime victims award

ST. PETERSBURG — Since her son was murdered five years ago, community activist Lisa Wheeler-Brown has had no trouble getting her voice heard.

Which is why the past several weeks have been so tough. Since February, Wheeler-Brown has had to keep a secret. She's finally able to spill it now.

On Wednesday, Wheeler-Brown, who has become an outspoken local critic of the "no-snitching" culture and an advocate for victims rights, will be honored in the nation's capital.

The Department of Justice is presenting her with the National Crime Victims' Special Courage Award. Twelve other citizens from across the country also will be recognized.

"This award recognizes a victim or survivor who has exhibited exceptional perseverance or determination in dealing with his or her own victimization," said Joye Frost, principal deputy director of DOJ's Office for Victims of Crime, in a statement. "It may also acknowledge an individual who has acted bravely either to aid a victim or to prevent a victimization."

Wheeler-Brown, 44, has done both, officials said.

After her 21-year-old son Cabretti Wheeler was killed during a mysterious double murder in 2008 at an auto repair shop in the Lealman area, Wheeler-Brown started a foundation to support victims' families. She campaigned against violence and encouraged the community to cooperate with police, especially since for years, no one came forward with tips about her son's murder.

Just days ago, the Florida Holocaust Museum gave Wheeler-Brown a humanitarian award.

Wheeler-Brown said she is humbled by the national recognition, which she said reinforces that her son didn't die in vain.

"When I think that no one is listening, somebody is," she said. "There's still work to do. There are still children to save, people to reach."

The man accused of killing Cabretti Wheeler is scheduled to go on trial in June.

Kameel Stanley can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8643.

Comments
Panic ensued after casino shuttle caught fire, survivor recalls

Panic ensued after casino shuttle caught fire, survivor recalls

By HOWARD ALTMANTimes Staff WriterPORT RICHEY —Before directing them to abandon the burning ship, the crew of The Island Lady casino shuttle moved passengers around the 72-foot wood-hulled vessel as fire began smouldering on both sides, one passenger...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Florida love triangle led to a murder-for-hire plot, police say. But the wrong woman was killed.

Florida love triangle led to a murder-for-hire plot, police say. But the wrong woman was killed.

Heartbreak and jealously were the twin engines driving the scheme, police would later say. Ishnar Marie Lopez-Ramos was in love. The object of the 35-year-old Floridian’s affection, however, was tangled up with another woman. To solve her hear...
Updated: 27 minutes ago

Florida boy, 6, dies of rabies contracted from a bat

ORLANDO — A 6-year-old Florida boy has died from rabies he contracted after being scratched by an infected bat.The father of Ryker Roque told NBC that the boy died Sunday at an Orlando hospital.Father Henry Roque said he had found a sick bat, put it ...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Pasco man fatally struck on Interstate 70 in Kansas

SALINA, Kan. — The Kansas Highway Patrol says a Florida man died after he was hit by a car as he walked along Interstate 70 near Salina.The patrol says 35-year-old Cody Nordlund of New Port Richey died Sunday night.He was walking in an eastbound lane...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Drone sightings sparking increasing concern locally

Drone sightings sparking increasing concern locally

TAMPA — Shortly before Christmas, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s pilot Jason Doyle was flying a department helicopter over east Hillsborough when he saw the lights of a drone. It was about 800 feet below him and a half-mile away, and quite bright, sai...
Published: 01/16/18
Mother of two, 42, identified as casualty after Port Richey boat fire

Mother of two, 42, identified as casualty after Port Richey boat fire

PORT RICHEY — As the boat disappeared in smoke and flames Sunday, as people leaped into the cold waters below, the neighborhood rallied. Residents helped the survivors ashore, gave them blankets and opened their homes to keep them warm.The neighbors ...
Updated: 2 hours ago

6-year-old Florida boy dies of rabies contracted from a bat

ORLANDO, Fla. — A 6-year-old Florida boy has died from rabies he contracted after being scratched by an infected bat. The father of Ryker Roque told NBC that the boy died Sunday at an Orlando hospital. Father Henry Roque said he had found a sick bat,...
Published: 01/15/18

Pinellas sheriff: Inmate, 59, found dead in county jail

CLEARWATER — A 59-year-old inmate was found dead Sunday night in the county jail, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.Johnny Mack Amons was pronounced dead at about 6:28 p.m. on Sunday, the Sheriff’s Office said, at the Pinellas County ...
Published: 01/15/18
2017 still a deadly year for Tampa Bay pedestrians, bicyclists

2017 still a deadly year for Tampa Bay pedestrians, bicyclists

Another year gone, another year that Tampa Bay was one of the most dangerous places in the country for those walking or riding their bikes.More than 100 people were killed walking in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties in 2017, according to sta...
Published: 01/15/18
Casino shuttle boat destroyed by fire as 50 passengers abandon ship in frigid Gulf

Casino shuttle boat destroyed by fire as 50 passengers abandon ship in frigid Gulf

By Jonathan Capriel, Howard Altman and Kirby WilsonTimes Staff Writers PORT RICHEY — A casino shuttle boat headed into the Gulf of Mexico caught fire Sunday, forcing 50 passengers to jump into chilly water just off a residential neighborhood. ...
Published: 01/14/18
Updated: 01/15/18