Associated Press

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Associated Press / WLRN

The teenager accused of using a semi-automatic rifle to kill 17 people at a Florida high school confessed to carrying out one of the nation's deadliest school shootings and concealing extra ammunition in his backpack, according to a sheriff's department report released Thursday.

Nikolas Cruz told investigators that he shot students in the hallways and on the grounds of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, north of Miami, the report from the Broward County Sheriff's Office said.

A football coach who also worked as a security guard is among the dead in a school shooting that claimed 17 lives in Parkland, Florida.

The football program at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tweeted that assistant coach Aaron Feis died while selflessly shielding students.

Broward Sheriff's Office

An orphaned 19-year-old with a troubled past and his own AR-15 rifle was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder Thursday morning after being questioned for hours by state and federal authorities following the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. in five years.

Fourteen wounded survivors were hospitalized as bodies were recovered from inside and around Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

JMV0586 / FLICKR

Florida's legal battle over voting rights for ex-prisoners escalated on Monday, as the state and a voting rights organization representing former felons made dramatically different requests of a federal judge.

Lawyers who have sued Florida want U.S. District Judge Mark Walker to order the automatic restoration of voting rights to anyone who has been out of prison at least five years. Walker ruled earlier this month that the state's system of restoring voting rights to felons who have served their time is arbitrary and unconstitutional.

Paul Lamison / AP

Florida wildlife officials say a red tide bloom persists along the southwest Florida coast and some fish kills have been reported.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the organism responsible for red tides is a natural part of the ecosystem but it can bloom to high concentrations when conditions favor it. Over the past week, samples were collected offshore in Collier, Lee, Hillsborough, Sarasota, Charlotte and Monroe counties.

Donalds is the lead sponsor of a proposal that would allow parents whose children have been bullied at public schools to obtain state vouchers to help pay tuition at a private school.
Associated Press

From third to fifth grade, Alyson Hochstedler says bullies slammed her son into lockers and punched him. One threatened to stab him. The public school's administration did little to stop his tormentors, she says, so the mother of five transferred her son to private school, using a state grant for low- and middle-income families to pay his tuition.

Greg Allen / NPR

A blackout hit northern Puerto Rico late Sunday after an explosion set off a big fire at a main power substation in the U.S. territory.

Elon Musk via Instagram

A SpaceX “Starman” is aboard the company’s new rocket that’s set to make its launch debut from Florida.

SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk revealed pictures of the surprise passenger Monday. The figure is in the driver’s seat of Musk’s red Tesla Roadster, the cargo for Tuesday’s first test flight of the Falcon Heavy. The right hand is on the wheel, the left arm rests on the convertible’s door.

Franklin Reyes / AP

The oldest son of late Cuban leader Fidel Castro killed himself on Thursday after months of treatment for depression, state media reported. He was 68.

USFWS/Southeast

An endangered Florida panther has been struck and killed by a vehicle.

 

It’s the third fatal collision this year, out of three total panther deaths.

 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Tuesday that the remains of the 2-year-old male were collected Saturday near a Naples country club, east of Interstate 75.

Florida panthers once roamed the entire Southeast, but now their habitat mostly is confined to a small region of Florida along the Gulf of Mexico. Up to 230 Florida panthers remain in the wild.

Associated Press

A Florida couple will have to take down their beachfront treehouse after the Supreme Court declined to get involved in a dispute over it.

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to take the case brought by Lynn Tran and Richard Hazen, who live on Anna Maria Island on Florida’s west coast. The couple built a two-story treehouse on their Holmes Beach property in 2011 after being told they didn’t need a permit.

Lindsey Kilbride / WMFE

Using cutting-edge video game technology and animation, the U.S. Army and Homeland Security Department have developed a computer-based simulator that can train everyone from teachers to first responders on how to react to an active shooter scenario.

 

The training center is housed at the University of Central Florida in Orlando and offers numerous role-playing opportunities that can be used to train anyone in the world with a computer.

 

floridakeysaquariumencounters.com

A resort and a major attraction are reopening about three months after Hurricane Irma slammed into the Florida Keys.

Tourists can return to Islamorada’s Amara Cay Resort and Marathon’s Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters on Friday.

The Keys reopened to visitors Oct. 1, and most tourism facilities in less-affected Key Largo and Key West quickly recovered. But many properties elsewhere in the Keys were significantly impacted.

Courtesy

A Florida college professor fired after publicly saying the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut was a hoax has lost a lawsuit claiming he was wrongfully terminated.

Local news outlets report that a federal jury on Monday sided with Florida Atlantic University. The school contended communications professor James Tracy was fired last year not because of his blog posts about the Sandy Hook school shooting but because he violated rules regarding reporting of outside work.

Associated Press

Doctors treating the U.S. Embassy victims of mysterious, invisible attacks in Cuba have discovered brain abnormalities as they search for clues to explain the hearing, vision, balance and memory damage, The Associated Press has learned.

It's the most specific finding to date about physical damage, showing that whatever it was that harmed the Americans, it led to perceptible changes in their brains. The finding is also one of several factors fueling growing skepticism that some kind of sonic weapon was involved.

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