Deputy arrested after 6-hour standoff in Wildlight community ‘no longer employed’ by Nassau County Sheriff’s Office
A Nassau County deputy who was barricaded in a home in the Wildlight community for six hours earlier this month is “no longer employed” by the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, a spokesperson told News4JAX.
LIVE: Local sheriffs, mayor-elect Deegan address growing issue of violence against law enforcement officers
Local sheriffs and Jacksonville’s next mayor on Wednesday evening are set to hold a news conference to discuss what they are saying is a growing issue of violence against law enforcement officers.
How law enforcement agencies are recruiting future officers in a difficult climate
Small towns and big cities alike are struggling to recruit and retain law enforcement officers amid national controversy over the police profession. Many veteran officers are retiring, leaving agencies in a bidding war for qualified candidates — as they try to hire the next generation to protect and serve.
Nassau County sheriff: 54 arrests made, hundreds of pounds of drugs seized in ‘Operation: Heavyweights’
A monthslong, multi-agency investigation named “Operation: Heavyweights” has resulted in 54 arrests and the seizure of hundreds of pounds of illegal narcotics, Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper announced Tuesday.
Deputy Joshua Moyers’ patrol car is a tribute to the man loved by his community
Sheriff Leeper presented Moyers' Chevrolet Tahoe patrol vehicle, the one he was patrolling in the night of his death, now with a brand-new paint scheme. It's designed to be used by the NCSO Honor Guard and is painted to honor police officers who have died in the line of duty, including troopers and officers from other departments within Nassau County.
Nassau man accused of killing wife, daughter, son indicted for 1st degree murder
A court document obtained Wednesday by News4JAX show that William Broyles, the Nassau County man accused of fatally shooting his wife, daughter and son at their home, has been indicted on three counts of first-degree murder.
Accused killer of Nassau County deputy being housed in Duval County jail
The man accused of killing Nassau County Deputy Joshua Moyers, who was shot during a traffic stop a week ago, was scheduled to appear Friday before a judge on charges of murder and aggravated battery of a police dog but his appearance was waived.
‘He was in there for quite a while’: Soccer club says fugitive ransacked concession stand
Two days after a fugitive accused of shooting and killing a Nassau County deputy was taken into custody at the Kirsten Higginbotham Sports Complex off Ball Park Road, those in charge of the facilities got their first chance to survey the damage he left behind.
$13M public safety training facility plans to accommodate growth in Nassau County
NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – An estimated $13 million public safety training facility plans to accommodate the growth in Nassau County. The 40-acre training facility behind Sandhill Recycle Center on County Road 108 has been in the works for years. “It’s something we’re very excited about,” said Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper. Leeper said that when they moved into the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office building four years ago, they knew they needed somewhere to train. News4Jax was told it will also serve as a better regional training site for natural disasters, active shooters and other threats.
Deadly batch of fentanyl-laced drugs going around Nassau County, sheriff warns
NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – A growing Nassau County population is seeing a rise in drug overdose deaths. While there is no one spot in the county where the drugs are concentrated, the sheriff said the numbers countywide are concerning. The county reported four drug overdose deaths in the last three days and nine deaths so far this year. The department’s last major drug bust was in January, when investigators arrested a man just released from prison for selling drugs. Leeper also said if you’re caught selling drugs and a person dies from them, you can be charged with homicide.
Authorities: Armed woman who made threats shot, killed by Nassau deputy
NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – A SWAT team member shot and killed a woman Tuesday night who brandished a firearm and threatened to “blow everyone away,” according to a spokesperson for the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office. According to the Sheriff’s Office, after returning to her house, the 48-year-old got into an argument with her father. That deputy shot one time, Leeper said, killing her. There is no body camera footage of the shooting because the Nassau County deputies don’t have them. The Sheriff’s Office said the deputy who shot the woman has been with the department for about three years, and this was his first deputy-involved shooting.
Nassau Sheriff condemns hate speech after racist signs were found in front yards
NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – After racist signs were found in the front yards of Yulee homes last week, Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper responding on Facebook, saying that “hateful and racially related” acts will not be tolerated in the county. “Over the past couple of months, the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office has responded to some hateful and racially related calls for police service within our community,” Leeper said in a video posted on Facebook on Monday morning. According to a report from the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 27, a Yulee woman told investigators that a man drove by her home and threw signs into her yard and the yard of her neighbor. When she looked at the signs, she found they included hate speech against African Americans, according to the report. (Editor’s Note: News4Jax is not naming the man because investigators found that no crime had been committed and the woman declined to press charges.)
Petition: 89-pound Kimberly Kessler could starve self to death
NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – Kimberly Kessler, the woman charged with murdering her coworker that was a stylist at a Nassau County hair salon, is refusing to eat and won’t accept any medical treatment, according to an emergency petition obtained Wednesday by News4Jax. The petition, filed by Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper, says Kessler is trying to kill herself by starvation. Because a judge in March found Kessler competent to stand trial, the Sheriff’s Office is asking for a precedent-setting ruling from the judge. Kessler is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Joleen Cummings, a 34-year-old mother of three. Kessler was arrested May 16 after investigators said they found footage showing her getting out of the vehicle.
Deputies: Boy, 12, brings 3 guns to Nassau County school
CALLAHAN, Fla. – A 12-year-old Nassau County boy was arrested Thursday after deputies say he brought three guns and ammo to a private Christian school in Callahan. "She discovered the butt of a gun and turned it over to the principal,” who told deputies he found a revolver, a second handgun and two boxes of .380 caliber ammunition inside. The teacher said Stanford told her he had brought the guns to school to show the principal. Inside his desk was a drawing of a man outside of a school with guns. The child’s mother, Sasha Lewis, told deputies the family has guns at home, but she thought the gun safe was locked.
Nassau County superintendent of schools
One of only two countywide race on the ballot is superintendent of schools, where incumbent Kathy Burns is being challenged by to fellow Republicans: Dale Braddock and Albert Wagner. To be a fair and honest educator who always made decisions with the welfare of the students and teachers foremost. As an educator who taught in Nassau County, I had the opportunity to see the inner workings of the school district as a parent and a teacher. After my tenure as Superintendent, I would hope to be remembered as the Superintendent who transformed classroom education. COVID-19 offers distinct challenges to every school district.
Nassau County judge, other races
Janet Adkins was elected in a three-way Republican primary for supervisor of elections, an office being vacated by Vicki Cannon. In the general election, Nassau County voters will complete electing a new county judge, fill two seats on the Ocean Highway and Port Authority. Also on the ballot for Nassau County voters are races for the Soil and Water Conservation District, Fernandina Beach, Callahan and Hilliard commissions, referendums in Fernandina Beach and Hillard and a community development for those living in Amelia Concourse. NASSAU COUNTY JUDGE, Group 1Jenny Higginbotham BarrettParty affiliation: NonpartisanAge: 43Candidate’s family: Husband, Scott Barrett Max (7) and Isabella (6)Occupation: attorneyEducation: University of North Florida, B.A. As a judge you are charged with treating every one fairly and I have done so throughout my 31 years practicing in Nassau County and every day of my life because it was the way we were raised.
Community rallies behind graduating twins who received racist letter
Hundreds of people participated in a car parade showing their support for the Sproul twins in Yulee. Xanah and Xarahs family received a nasty letter in the mail last week. @wjxt4 pic.twitter.com/QuK25F5AqS Corley Peel (@WJXT_CorleyPeel) July 31, 2020About 200 people filled the street, honking their horns for Xanah and Xarah Sproul. The twins older sister, Niah, says the family has received outpouring support from people locally and worldwide. The letter was unsigned and typed, and while the author says they live in the Timber Creek neighborhood, the letter was mailed from Jacksonville.
Nassau County supervisor of elections
So the only countywide race on the ballot in November is for supervisor of elections, an office being vacated by Vicki Cannon. Janet Adkins was elected in a three-way Republican primary for supervisor of elections, an office being vacated by Vicki Cannon. Trust in our elections process is essential to an orderly transfer of power; and it is a key qualification when selecting Nassau County’s next Supervisor of Elections. Elections experience comes from various sources. It's critical that the Supervisor of Elections promotes a safe and healthy environment for the voters by maintaining CDC social distancing and sanitation recommendations.
Teens held in death of West Nassau student face new upgraded charges
CALLAHAN, Fla. – Two teenagers arrested shortly after a 16-year-old West Nassau High School student was shot and killed earlier this year are facing new, adult charges. The Sheriff’s Office said Trent Fort was shot in the chest after getting into a confrontation during a drug deal after school on Feb. 24. He was arrested shortly after Fort’s murder at a McDonald’s in Callahan and his brother was tracked to a wooded area in the Spring Lakes Estates neighborhood. Fort’s parents said they’ve never met the teens, but they learned who they were on the day of the shooting. “I’m pretty positive that there will be more arrests, and I’m just waiting on it,” said Paige Hall, Fort’s mother.
Nassau Sheriff: Man shot, killed by officer during drug bust outside Yulee liquor store
NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. A man was shot and killed Friday afternoon by an officer with the Fernandina Beach Police Department during a drug bust outside Casey Liquors on U.S. 17, according to Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper. Later, family identified the man as 44-year-old Jarvis Sullivan of Camden County. Leeper said the officer fired his weapon, striking the man and killing him. According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Sullivan spent one year in jail on drug charges. But I still want to know all the details in what actually happened.Leeper said the Sheriffs Office was waiting to notify next of kin before releasing the mans name.
Callahan arcade burglarized as officials weigh future of businesses
CALLAHAN, Fla. – An adult arcade in Callahan was broken into and ransacked early Tuesday morning, several hours after Nassau County commissioners weighed a proposal to impose stricter regulations on such businesses. Commissioners recently introduced a proposal to ban game rooms and classify them as a public nuisance after a recent uptick in violent crimes. I’m not scared to go to any of these game rooms around here.”Joe Lutz manages the Cyber Center. Lutz feels not all game rooms should be punished for the crimes that have happened at other arcades. The move to regulate simulated gambling devices in Nassau comes after Jacksonville shut down adult arcades in October.
3 jailed, 1 hospitalized after security guard shoots robber at adult arcade in Yulee
3 jailed, 1 hospitalized after security guard shoots robber at adult arcade in YuleePublished: December 9, 2019, 5:17 pmVIDEO: Three men and one woman, all from Jacksonville, were stopped minutes after an armed robbery at an adult game room in Yulee, according to Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper.
Vandals trash new Fernandina Beach hotel, cause at least $300,000 in damage
FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. - Two Nassau County men are accused of vandalism after deputies say they destroyed much of a new hotel in Fernandina Beach. Leeper said the vandals broke windows, smashed appliances and set off fire extinguishers inside the hotel that was set to open soon. A total of 33 rooms, including the lobby area, was damaged, according to the arrest report. Now managers are dealing with an estimated $300,000 to $500,000 worth of damage. According to arrest reports, both suspects admitted to being a part of the mischief.
Vandals trash new Fernandina Beach hotel, cause at least $300,000 in damage
Two vandals are being blamed for causing up $500,000 in damage to a new Nassau County hotel, a month before its scheduled opening. Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said 21-year-old Rafael De Jesus Charriez and 20-year-old Sage Chrzanoski broke into the Hilton Home2 Suites hotel on Sadler Road in Fernandina Beach around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. Some of the damage could be seen from the road Thursday as crews worked to clean up the mess left behind. Leeper provided cell phone video he said one of the burglars recorded as they were vandalizing the hotel. No one answered at either of their Fernandina Beach homes Thursday.
Judge: Georgia sheriff's office must remove 'no trick or treat' signs
BUTTS COUNTY, Ga. - A federal judge is forcing a Georgia sheriff's office to remove signs that were placed in the yards of registered sex offenders, which warned trick-or-treaters not to visit their doorsteps on Halloween. A suit claimed Butts County Sheriff's Office employees trespassed onto the registered offenders' private property and "had no legal authority" to place the signs last October, causing them anxiety and humiliation. Ultimately, the judge decided the sex offenders' first amendment rights had been violated, telling the sheriff to remove the signs. Halloween safety: Check your trick-or-treating route for sex offendersGeorgia displays all registered sex offenders' names, photos and addresses in a public online directory. In Missouri, registered sex offenders must remain inside their home between 5 and 10:30 p.m., unless they have to be somewhere, like their jobs, or for medical emergencies.
Shots fired as Nassau County adult arcade robbed at gunpoint
FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. - Now that adult arcades are closing in Jacksonville, attention is shifting to similar game rooms in nearby Nassau County where one business was the target of a violent robbery Wednesday. Crimes targeting adult arcades aren't limited to Jacksonville. In fact, authorities estimate there have been seven robberies targeting these businesses in Nassau County since 2017, including an adult arcade in Callahan that was robbed at gunpoint in June. News4Jax spoke with several customers at the Nassau County arcade, some of whom went to the arcade because their usual game rooms in Jacksonville had been closed. Anyone with any information can contact the Nassau County Sheriffs Office at 904-225-5174 or First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
Woman hit, killed by train in Nassau County
NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. - A pedestrian was struck and killed by a train Friday afternoon just north of Hilliard, authorities said. It happened about 2:30 p.m. on the railroad tracks at Andrews Road near U.S. 23. Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper told News4Jax a woman stepped out in front of the train. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the woman, identified as 62-year-old Rosalina Wolf, was walking south on the railroad tracks when she was struck by the train, which was traveling southbound. The crash remains under investigation, the Highway Patrol report shows.
Van caught in tide remains stuck in Nassau Sound
A van caught in the tide Saturday morning in Nassau Sound was still in the waters Monday morning, as officials work to get it removed from the beach. State Park Manager Michelle Waterman said the car was caught in the tide around 11:30 a.m. Saturday and was called in by a park visitor. Waterman said there is no oil spill or contamination from the van right now. According to Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper, a man drove the van down to the waterline at low tide, and when the waters rose, the van was trapped. They said the driver was behaving erratically, and they called in the Sheriff's Office.
Deputies: Human skull, bones found in wooded area of Nassau County
NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. - An apparent human skull and bones were discovered last week in a wooded area between Callahan and Hilliard, according to a Nassau County Sheriff's Office report. His case is one the 10 open missing persons cases in the county. According to the Sheriff's Office, it appeared they had been there quite some time. Silcox told News4Jax that her son-in-law was one of the corrections officers who found the bones. Leeper told News4Jax on Tuesday that the remains were not believed to be those of Joleen Cummings, a 34-year-old Nassau County mother of three who disappeared in May 2018.
Man claiming self-defense in shooting death of mother's boyfriend
The petition claims Skyler Cole Johnson, who is charged with second-degree murder, fired at his mother's boyfriend, Richard Crews, as Crews came toward him. The petition alleges Crews assaulted Johnson's mother during the argument, and that Johnson warned Crews to stop. According to the petition, Crews responded by threatening to kill Johnson and his mother. Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper previously said the fight between Johnson's mother and Crews, 38, was sparked by a dispute over household finances. Deputies said Crews and Johnson's mother are not married but have two children in common.
Sheriff: 24-year-old shot, killed mother's boyfriend during argument
HILLIARD, Fla. - A 24-year-old Hilliard man has been charged with shooting and killing his mother's boyfriend after the couple got into an argument Monday, Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said. Skyler Cole Johnson was booked into the Nassau County Jail on a charge of second-degree murder. Leeper said the fight Monday afternoon between Johnson's mother and her boyfriend, Richard Crews, 38, was sparked by a dispute over household finances. Deputies said Crews and Johnson's mother are not married but have two children in common. Leeper said that's when Johnson shot Crews several times with a 9 mm handgun.
Sheriff: 24-year-old shot, killed mother's boyfriend during argument
HILLIARD, Fla. - A 24-year-old Hilliard man has been charged with shooting and killing his mother's boyfriend after the couple got into an argument Monday, Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said. Skyler Cole Johnson was booked into the Nassau County Jail on a charge of second-degree murder. Leeper said the fight Monday afternoon between Johnson's mother and her boyfriend, Richard Crews, 38, was sparked by a dispute over household finances. Deputies said Crews and Johnson's mother are not married but have two children in common. Leeper said that's when Johnson shot Crews several times with a 9mm handgun.
53 people arrested in 'Operation Cold Summer'
YULEE, Fla. - After an investigation that spanned several months, detectives in Nassau County announced Wednesday that 53 people have been arrested after numerous undercover drug stings. Narcotics detectives with the Nassau County Sheriff's Office and Fernandina Beach Police Department were part of Operation Cold Summer. According to Sheriff Bill Leeper, the 53 people were arrested on various drug charges and all have prior arrests. Items seized during the operation include over four pounds of meth, 11 grams of heroin mixed with fentanyl, 14 grams of crack cocaine, about four pounds of marijuana, six firearms, a vehicle and $8,688. "If you are selling illegal drugs in Nassau County you can stop now, leave the county, or keep looking over your shoulder because we are coming after you," Leeper said.
4 arrested after drugs discovered in Yulee home where child lived
From left to right: Nassau County Sheriff's Office booking photos of Jessica Dunman, Grady Glover, Ricky Labigang and Robert SteffensYULEE, Fla. - Four people were arrested after Nassau County deputies said they discovered drugs in a Yulee home where a child had been living. The Sheriff's Office said the four people were arrested on the following charges:Robert Adolf Steffens, 44, of Yulee, is charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and violation of probation. Jessica Lynn Dunman, 40, of Yulee, is charged with possession of methamphetamine, child neglect, possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, place where control substances are kept/sold/used declared a public nuisance. Grady Eugene Glover, 37, of Yulee, is charged with child neglect, tampering with utilities, possession of methamphetamine, possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia, place where control substances are kept/sold/used declared a public nuisance. Ricky Anthony Labigang, 59, of Yulee, is charged with possession of cocaine and four counts of sale of a controlled substance.
Nassau County Sheriff's Office holds active shooter drill at Yulee High
YULEE, Fla. - The Nassau County Sheriffs Office and other agencies took part Tuesday in an active shooter training drill at Yulee High School. The school has about 1,200 students and sits right next to Yulee Middle School. The drill involved a scenario where an active shooter was on campus targeting students. Last week, the Fernandina Beach Police Department also held an active shooter exercise at Fernandina Beach High School. Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said all county agencies must practice and learn how to respond the best way possible to an attack.
Yulee High School to hold active shooter drill Tuesday
YULEE, Fla. - A heads up for parents and students of Yulee High School who might be on campus during the summer: the Nassau County Sheriff's Office plans to conduct an active shooter drill at the school on Tuesday. According to Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper, the active shooter training will begin at 9 a.m. and last until 11:30 a.m.Law enforcement and fire rescue vehicles will likely be seen on campus. Copyright 2019 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.
Sheriff: 3 Georgia men arrested in internet cafe armed robbery
NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. - Three Georgia men accused of holding up an internet cafe in the Callahan area last month have been arrested, Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper announced Wednesday afternoon. According to an incident report, deputies arrived at the scene just three minutes after being called to the Cyber Center, but the suspects had already left. After the robbery, the trio got into a small, black four-door vehicle and took off, the sheriff said. It's unclear how detectives identified the suspects, but the sheriff said arrest warrants were issued for all three men after an investigation by Nassau County Sheriff's Office. The owner of the Callahan-area property told News4Jax last month that while robberies may be common at Jacksonville internet cafes, they are rare in Nassau County.
Sheriff: Growth a huge factor in Nassau County's crime increase
NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. - Crime is up in Nassau County, one of the fastest-growing Northeast Florida areas. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement's 2018 Uniform Crime Report released Monday found Nassau County's overall crime increased 8.4%, with the Nassau County Sheriff's Office seeing a 9.5% increase and the Fernandina Beach Police Department seeing a 3.8% increase. Sheriff Bill Leeper told News4Jax on Tuesday that population growth is a huge factor in the crime increase. He said Nassau County is the ninth fastest-growing county in Florida and that with a low crime rate already, any increase in crime seems significant. "Its no secret that Nassau County is growing," Leeper said.
Nassau County sheriff: Teen accidentally shot, killed self with handgun
HILLIARD, Fla. – An 18-year-old was shot and killed while holding a loaded handgun Thursday night in the bedroom of his Hilliard home, according to Nassau County Sheriff' Bill Leeper. Travis Thompson said his nephew knew how to handle a firearm, and it doesn't make sense that Rhoden would accidentally take his own life. Thompson believes his nephew knew better than to twirl a loaded gun. According to family members, Rhoden was not alone in the room when the shooting happened. Family members created a fundraising account to help with funeral costs.