Among the hardest hit was Tennessee, where officials believe hundreds of buildings have been damaged or destroyed as fires burned in Sevier County, just outside Knoxville. The county is home to the popular tourist destinations of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
A deputy assigned to patrol Majory Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of a mass shooting last month, has been suspended without pay after he was caught sleeping in his vehicle while on the job on Monday. According to a spokeswoman for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Moises Carotti was parked near the 1200 building around 5 p.m., the same building where 17 people were killed when former student Nikolas Cruz opened fire on Valentine’s Day. A student alerted a sergeant who was patrolling the school that Carotti was sleeping in his car. When the sergeant approached Carotti’s marked patrol vehicle, he had to knock on the window to get him to wake up. Carotti was taken off the job. Another deputy was sent to replace him and patrol the school. “Of all the schools in America, you would think this would be the safest one right now,' said Florida Senator Marco Rubio. 'This is so outrageous it’s almost impossible to believe.” This is the second time a Broward County deputy has been accused of not doing their job while watching over the school in the past month. School resource officer Scot Peterson has received major backlash for waiting outside of the school while Cruz gunned down people inside. The ‘sleeping deputy’ incident comes as three Stoneman Douglas students were arrested this week. One of the students allegedly posted threatening messages and a picture of himself holding a gun and bullets on Snapchat. Two other students were arrested on weapons charges after pulling knives on their classmates.
The Florida Puerto Rican Parade and Festival is more than one month away, and organizers announced Tuesday that this year's theme is 'New Beginnings.' The group held a news conference Tuesday with Paul Curran, market vice president of Cox Media Group Orlando, WFTV Channel 9's parent company. The announcement marked six months since Hurricane Maria devastated the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. The parade and festival was held in downtown Orlando last April. There were 2,000 marchers, eight floats and three marching bands. Organizers said they expect at least double the number of people to march in this year's parade. Since then, Hurricane Maria slammed the island and more than 200,000 people have moved to Central Florida. 'I know some of them have already moved (away), but the majority (are still) here,' said Ana Cruz, of the Orlando Hispanic Office for Local Assistance. 'I'm hoping they show up.' Organizers said the theme refers to the victims starting their lives over after losing so much in the storm. For some, the festival symbolizes the island's rebuilding. 'We want people to know how important it is for us as Puerto Ricans to get together and support Puerto Rico,' said Ralph Morales, the festival's chairman. Before the parade, a cultural pageant and a gala awards dinner will be held, during which five high school and college students will receive $2,000 scholarships. The parade is scheduled for April 28. Watch it live on WFTV Channel 9 and wftv.com.
A suspect in the deadly package bombings in Austin, Texas, is dead, law enforcement sources told the Austin American-Statesman. >> READ MORE: Trump says 'it's not easy to find' culprit in first public comment on Austin bombings | 'Hold your leaders accountable': Chance the Rapper tweets about Austin bombings | Photos: Austin police investigate explosions | For investigators, a race to decode hidden message in Austin bombings | Map shows location of 4 Austin bombs | Austin explosions: 2 men hurt in fourth blast this month | Officials increase reward to $115,000 for information on Austin bombings | Man held in SXSW threat ruled out as bomb suspect, police say | Austin package explosions: 3 blasts appear connected, claim 2 lives, police say | The Roots' SXSW show canceled after bomb threat; man arrested | Austin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House| MORE
Police have shut down parts of downtown Pflugerville, an Austin suburb, due to a report of a suspicious package, the city’s police chief said early Wednesday. It is not yet known whether the incident is related to the Austin bombings. The news came the day after investigators linked a fifth bomb blast at a FedEx ground delivery facility northeast of San Antonio to the deadly package bombs in Austin. A sixth blast at a south Austin Goodwill store was not related to the bombings, investigators said. >> READ MORE: Trump says 'it's not easy to find' culprit in first public comment on Austin bombings | 'Hold your leaders accountable': Chance the Rapper tweets about Austin bombings | Photos: Austin police investigate explosions | For investigators, a race to decode hidden message in Austin bombings | Map shows location of 4 Austin bombs | Austin explosions: 2 men hurt in fourth blast this month | Officials increase reward to $115,000 for information on Austin bombings | Man held in SXSW threat ruled out as bomb suspect, police say | Austin package explosions: 3 blasts appear connected, claim 2 lives, police say | The Roots' SXSW show canceled after bomb threat; man arrested | Austin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House | MORE
A Mill Creek, Washington, man is facing charges after a treehouse was found in the Snoqualmie National Forest with child pornography hanging on the walls inside. >> Watch the news report here KIRO-TV first reported on the discovery off the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in February. The unauthorized treehouse was reported by an employee of the Department of Natural Resources, according to court documents. A DNR worker took a couple of the photographs off the wall to show law enforcement and called the King County Sheriff's Office. The DNR employee took a detective to the treehouse, which was described in court documents as 'an elaborate tree house that resembled a fairy or gingerbread house.' The treehouse was about 8 feet off the ground with a porch surrounding it. >> On KIRO7.com: Treehouse filled with child porn found near North Bend Investigators say that inside the treehouse they found photographs of naked young girls framed on the walls. There was also a bed, food, supplies, a book and an electronic keyboard. They found an envelope with more pornographic images. The King County Sheriff's Office handed the case over to the FBI to investigate. The FBI sent KIRO-TV new photos of the house on Monday. The FBI searched the cabin in April 2017 and collected items to test for fingerprints and DNA to find out who built the cabin. They took construction photos, smoking material, bedding, glasses, photos of girls, bags of batteries and glass from the photograph frames. They sent the items to the FBI laboratory in Quantico. Federal investigators said they also talked to a Search and Rescue volunteer who said he had seen an SUV near the cabin on multiple occasions, and he had the license plate information. Investigators tracked down the owner of the vehicle and watched him. >> Read more trending news Investigators said they took a swab from the handle of his motorcycle and later got a paper drinking cup he discarded. Those items were also sent to the lab in Quantico. According to court documents, the items tested at Quantico positively identified the 56-year-old Mill Creek man. Court records show Daniel Wood, of Mill Creek, has been charged with two counts of child pornography possession. FBI agents searched Woods condominium in Mill Creek in February and collected his computers, Amazon Fire, SD cards, Polaroid tablet, VHS tapes and video recorder.