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    Police said a man and his girlfriend were booked into jail Wednesday morning for a chaotic theft at a Southwest Miami-Dade Kmart  that injured two of the stores loss prevention officers.

    According to officers, Zuraby Gonzalez, 29, stole from the store at 123rd Avenue and Southwest 8th Street and took off toward the exit.

    When one of the loss prevention officers tried to stop him, police said he punched the employee in the face and then got into a red Nissan, driven by his girlfriend, Jeanette Miranda, 21.

    The second loss prevention officer tried to stop the couple in the parking lot, and that employee was hit by the getaway car.

    Police pursued the pair out of the parking lot, and officers said the two hit a BMW, and a mattress before the car caught fire near 136th Court, bringing the chase to an end.

    Officers said the two loss prevention officers were treated for minor injuries at the scene, as well as the two people inside the BMW.

    Gonzalez was charged with grand theft in the 3rd degree, battery, criminal mischief and resisting an officer without violence.

    Miranda was charged with aggravated battery, eluding a police officer, leaving the scene of a crash, and resisting an officer.


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    A security guard is in critical condition after he was shot at a Miami-Dade Metrorail station Tuesday night.

    The guard, who has not been identified, was found after witnesses told police they heard gunshots near the station at NW 27th Avenue and 62nd Street. According to a Miami-Dade police spokesperson, the guard is in critical condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

    Miami-Dade Transit temporarily closed the station, but it was reopen as of Wednesday morning. During the closure, shuttle buses took passengers to the Brownsville station. 

    Investigators released no further information about the incident as of late Tuesday. It is unclear when the station will be reopened. 

    Watch Local 10 News and refresh Local10.com for updates on this story.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter@WPLGLocal10 


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    Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a car crash that had one person ejected from a car in Miramar Wednesday morning.

    FHP confirmed two people were inside the car when it crashed.

    Troopers say the stolen Mercedes SUV was spotted being driven recklessly down Miami Gardens Drive. It's unclear if a chase ensued, but at some point police lost sight of the car, when they exited toward eastbound Miramar Parkway. The car was later spotted on its side.

    Interstate 75 north near eastbound Miramar Parkway is closed.

    Both of the people in the car were taken to Memorial Regional Hospital.

    Stay with us for updates on this developing story.


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    A 21-year-old man was shot Tuesday night after firing at police officers at apartments near 132nd Street and Northeast Seventh Avenue.

    According to the Miami-Dade Police Department, officers went to the apartment just after 7 p.m. as they were following a lead on a recent shooting.

    When they arrived at the apartments, the man started firing at them. Police said the officers fired back, striking the man.

    The 21-year-old man, who has not been identified, was taken to the hospital, where his condition is unknown.

    Police said no officers were injured during the incident, but one of their cruisers may have been hit.

    Watch Local 10 News and refresh Local10.com for updates on this developing story.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    The Miami Heat are holding auditions Thursday for their Golden Oldies dance team, an ensemble comprised of fans age 60 and older. 

    Tryouts will be held at 12 p.m. at Southwest Focal Point Senior Center at 301 NW 103 rd Ave. in Pembroke Pines. Registration begins at 11 a.m. 

    According to the Heat, the Golden Oldies is the NBA's original senior citizen dance team in which members make "a name for themselves by mastering the latest dance moves with funk and charisma."

    The team is searching for the "hippest, coolest, and young-at-heart" senior citizens. Participants must be at least 60 years old. 

    All dancers must bring a government-issued ID and wear a black, red, or white outfit with dance or athletic shoes with non-slip, non-marking shoes. They must also have flexible schedules for rehearsals, games and other appearances during the season. 

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter@WPLGLocal10


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    It's tough to drive anywhere without tires. Just ask two Honda Accord owners and the driver of a Mini Cooper after their tires were recently stolen at a Tri-Rail station.

    Sometime before 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, the tires and rims were stolen from the cars inside the Tri-Rail station parking garage in Dania Beach.

    It's not the first time something similar has happened.

    In June, three cars were left on blocks at the Sheridan Street station after the tires were stolen.

    A victim from the theft at the Sheridan Street station said she had locking lug nuts.

    Prior to this most recent incident, security guards patrol from station to station, but that is about to change.

    "We truly apologize for the inconvenience these passengers have incurred," South Florida Regional Transportation Authority spokeswoman Bonnie Arnold said in a statement to Local 10 News. "In response to this incident, we have stationed an officer full-time at the station and have increased our security presence at other stations in the vicinity as well."

    Because of the low clearance, tow trucks can't get inside the garage, so the victims were looking for temporary rims to drive the cars out.

    The recent thefts are making Tri-Rail commuters nervous about leaving their vehicles behind.

    "You'll be scared like hell to park here after that," commuter Jeffrey Lashley said.

    Follow Todd Tongen on Twitter @toddtongen

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    A company with a big contract to clean the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is accused of misleading county officials and shortchanging minority businesses in the process.

    When the Broward County Commission awarded Sunshine Cleaning a $62 million janitorial contract at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport, the firm promised to spread 30 percent of that wealth to small and minority companies to fulfill its obligations under the County Business Enterprise program.

    But the company then created a scheme to mislead the county regarding minority participation, according an Office of Inspector General report issued Wednesday, claiming in reports filed with the county that it provided nearly $11 million in business to those small companies, but in reality only giving about $660,000 in business to them.

    "It was a scheme," Broward Inspector General John Scott said. "Sunshine cleaned the airport using its own employees, it hired them, it fired them, it disciplined them and it supervised them. They represented to the county that the employees belonged to four or five [small and minority businesses]. They misrepresented the relationship they had ... rather than allowing [subcontractors do the work] it merely allowed them to act as a fiction for Sunrise."

    "Almost a pass-through?" asked Local 10 News' Bob Norman.

    "Yes, I wouldn't disagree with that," Scott said.

    Sunshine Cleaning's owner, Larry Calufetti, who has been large campaign contributor to commission campaigns, put out a statement through a public relations firm, reading in part, "We won't let the OIG damage our company's reputation for honesty and great work that we have earned over more than 30 years in business. We have always been transparent with the county and stand by our business practices."

    But Scott said proof of the scheme came in IRS filings, which contradicted Sunshine's claims to the county that its own employees were actually employed by minority firms like Emily K. Evans, which the OIG alleges received millions of dollars it never saw.

    "When Sunshine had to file documents with the Florida Department of Revenue and the IRS, in that instance Sunshine admitted they were their employees," Scott said.

    The OIG is recommending that the county fine Sunshine as much $140,000 for each year of non-compliance and the county is exploring that option. The state attorney's office investigated and determined criminal charges weren't warranted in the case.

    Follow Bob Norman on Twitter @NormanOn10

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    A jury found a Broward County man accused of killing his wife five years ago guilty of second-degree murder.

    Robert Oulton faced a mandatory life sentence if the jury had convicted him of first-degree murder.

    Oulton took the stand in his own defense on Wednesday, breaking down at times as he told the jury how he hit his wife, Yvonne, repeatedly in April 2010. He said he hid her body and tried to cover up the crime.

    I swung and I hit her and she kept hitting," Oulton said. "I was covered in blood..."

    Oulton's adult son, Brian, testified against his father on Tuesday. Brian Oulton said it was two days before he found out that his mother was murdered, and two more days before he found out that his father was accused of killing her.

    Prosecutors said Oulton beat his wife of 40 years to death and left her to die in the family van after they argued about their son's business partner.

    The defense argued that her death was manslaughter and not premeditated first-degree murder.

    According to police, Oulton played poker at a casino after killing his wife and called his son later that night to tell him that his mother was missing.

    After a brief search, Brian Oulton said his father led him straight to the van and her body.

    Detectives said Oulton confessed to the killing once he was alone in the interrogation room with his son.

    "I turned evil. I woke up and remember(ed) everything," detectives said Oulton told his son.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter@WPLGLocal10


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    July was the fourth-driest month in San Juan, Puerto Rico, since 1898.

    The situation has grown so dire that the water authority said it plans to spend $200,000 over the next few months in "cloud seeding," in hopes of creating rain clouds over Puerto Rico's three main reservoirs.

    In Trujillo Alto, a suburb of San Juan, you'll find one of Puerto Rico's largest reservoirs, which has dried up.

    The Carraizo Dam used to provide water for much of the eastern side of the island. But today, what little water you find is surrounded by greenery. In fact, the dam is so dry that the water authority is taking advantage of the situation to dredge it in anticipation of the next drought.

    Back in town, you'll l find people on any given day making lines to fill up gallons of water at portable water stations. Everyone stocks up to make due on the days the water is cut. 

    "It's not easy," resident Ruben Vallejo said. "It's been tough, the situation we find ourselves in."

    According to the water authority, water is shut off for two days and back on for 24 hours for more than 160,000 residents and businesses. But most people Local 10 News spoke to said that lately it's been two days with water and five days without it.

    Water levels at the reservoir have dropped 18 feet in recent months.

    It's been 20 years since water rations were put in place, and so you can imagine that when water is released, the rush begins.         

    The Carraizo has become a sightseeing stop in recent weeks after a house that dates back to the 1940s was found in the reservoir. The home hadn't been seen in decades and was thought to be a folk tale.

    Jose Camacho has spent the last month filling up water jugs during his lunch break. He lives in a high-rise apartment and said even on the days the water is on, the pressure is so low, you can't even shower.

    "Are you angry?" Local 10 News reporter Carlos Suarez asked.

    "Very angry," Camacho said. "You pay a lot of taxes and what do you have? Nothing. I wish I could leave this country."

    The government said just about every city is experiencing a drought, and that on any given day, a third of the island goes dry. That is unless you're on the tourist side of the island.

    Hotels, restaurants and businesses in Old San Juan, El Condado and surrounding neighborhoods have water every day. The cities are serviced by a separate system than the rest of the island.

    "You really don't see it or notice it unless someone tells you there's a drought," Joshua Tabia, who is visiting the island, said. "It's been a pleasurable experience as far as tourism goes."

    The water shortage is costing an already cash-strapped water authority. The public utility is having trouble paying billions of dollars in debt and it's hemorrhaging millions in monthly payments.

    Earlier this month, the water authority said it hoped to sell $750 million in revenue bonds to upgrade its aging system. But, having failed to make payments on other bonds, it could be a tough sell for investors.

    Follow Carlos Suarez on Twitter @CarlosWPLG

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter@WPLGLocal10


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    The Broward Sheriff's Office is investigating a possible murder-suicide involving two siblings in Pompano Beach.

    It happened at a home in the 2600 block of Northeast 21st Street.

    A woman came to visit a friend at the home around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. When she stepped outside to make a phone call to her husband, she heard gunshots from inside the home. The woman took cover and called police.

    A SWAT team arrived at the home and created a perimeter. Once they went inside, they found a man and a woman dead from apparent gunshot wounds.

    Early Thursday morning, deputies identified the deceased as Mandy Lytell. 28 and Joseph Lytell, 24. According to detectives, it appears Joseph Lytell shot his sister before killing himself. 

    The Broward County Medical Examiner's Office will determine the official causes and manners of death. No motive has been determined. 

    Watch Local 10 News and refresh Local10.com for updates on this developing story.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    Authorities are searching for a man who stole a vehicle that had two children inside, North Miami police said.

    The incident happened around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at Avocado Coin Laundry at Northeast 133rd Street and West Dixie Highway.

    The mother of a 9-month-old child and a 3-year-old child told Local 10 News she was standing near her Toyota RAV 4 as her husband unloaded the car with laundry when the man ran up and got inside the running SUV. 

    He drove over the mother's foot as he drove away, she said. 

    North Miami police sent out an alert and in about an hour, someone called saying they saw a car matching its description.

    The car was found Wednesday night at 140th Street and Northeast 11th Avenue still running with its doors open and the kids inside. Police said the children are now safe and have been reunited with their mother.

    The man who took the car is still on the loose. He was described by police as about 6'0 tall and heavyset. He was last seen wearing a white shirt and green pants. 

    Watch Local 10 News and refresh Local10.com for updates on this developing story.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    Pembroke Pines police launched a death investigation early Thursday morning after a woman was found dead in an apartment complex.

    Officers were called to 12136 Southwest 11th Court just after 5:30 a.m. after reports of an in-progress shooting. Upon their arrival, the woman's body was found with an apparent gunshot wound.

    The victim has not been identified. Pembroke Pines police are at the scene, collecting evidence and speaking with people who may have seen what happened. 

    Anyone with information is asked to contact Pembroke Pines police at 954-431-2200, email Tips@ppines.com, or call Broward County Crimestoppers at 954-493-TIPS. 

    Watch Local 10 News and refresh Local10.com for updates on this story.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    The westbound lanes of Griffin Road are reopen to traffic between Southwest 31st and 33rd avenues after a fatal crash. 

    The view from Sky 10 shows a light colored sedan apparently went off the road and hit a structure. The Broward Sheriff's Office confirmed to Local 10 News one person was killed around 4 a.m. Thursday. 

    One other vehicle was involved in the crash, it is unclear if anyone was injured. 

    Watch Local 10 News and refresh Local10.com for updates on this story. 

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    The WDBJ-TV morning show in Roanoke Thursday missed their two stars -- Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27.

    Station Account

    At 6:45 a.m. — the time of the shooting that took their lives  — the station observed a moment of silence, showing the victim's photos on the screens.

    Anchor Kim McBroom, who was on the anchor desk during Wednesday's shooting and tried to reassure viewers immediately after the attack was broadcast, joined hands with weatherman Leo Hirsbrunner and fellow anchor Steve Grant, who came in from sister station KYTV in Springfield, Missouri.

    "Joining hands here on the desk. It's the only way to do it," she said just before the moment of silence.

    During his forecast, Hirsbrunner's voice trembled as he recalled how Ward would check in with him every morning about the weather before going out on assignment.

    "I don't even know how to do weather on a day like this," he said. McBroom told him: "Good job, partner. We're going to get through this together."

    WDBJ-TV former reporter Vester Lee Flanagan II also shot Vicki Gardner, 62. She survived and was in stable condition Thursday morning. Some in the station also prayed for her.

    Flanagan, who also went by the name Bryce Williams, had a tumultuous employment history that dates to the mid-1990s.  Marie Mattox, who represented him in a lawsuit he filed against a former employer in Florida, said she didn't see in him the ability for such violence.

    "I thought that he would go on with his life and be able to make something productive of himself," she said.

    DOCUMENT: Gunman's racial discrimination law suit in Florida

    But there were others who noticed the turmoil and were afraid. Brandon Foster filmed a road rage incident involving Flanagan July 6 in Roanoke, Va. 

    "He was obviously not in his right mind," Foster said. He posted the video on YouTube.

    San Diego 6 News Director Don Shafer said that when he worked at WTWC-TV in Tallahassee he noticed some "odd behavior." Shafer said he hired and fired him.

    "He was a good on-air performer, a pretty good reporter. And then things started getting a little strange," Shafer said. He added that Flanagan "threatened to punch people out ... and he was kind of running roughshod over folks in the newsroom."

    Flanagan said he was harassed and was referred to as a "monkey." Kimberly Moore Wilmoth, a former co-worker at WTWC-TV, said he once filmed an elderly man who was trapped inside a car and was calling out for help.

    "Instead of helping the man, he used the man as a prop," she said.

    Orlando Salinas, a former WDBJ reporter who worked with Flanagan, told Adweek's TVSpy that Flanagan often complained about racism. According to Salinas, on Flanagan's last day at the station, he created a "ruckus."

    Police were called and, as they escorted him out, he handed a manager a small wooden cross.

    "You’ll need this," Flanagan said.

    Larell Reynolds, a former WDBJ employee, said he was there.

    "We were in a lock down the day that he was fired and a few days later we had police detail that kind of watched over the station," Reynolds said.

    In a letter to a judge, Flanagan described what he faced in Virginia as "vile, disgusting and inexcusable," asserting that colleagues strategically placed a watermelon around the office as a way to torment him.

    "I am a very, very persistent person," he wrote, "and will utilize every resource I have to achieve justice and stand up for the rights of others at the same time."

    His complaint for racial discrimination in Tallahassee was settled out of court, but the one in Roanoke was dismissed. 

    Flanagan worked as a UnitedHealthcare call center employee in Virginia from September 2013 until November 2014, UnitedHealthcare spokesman Matt Burn said.

    In a series of suicide notes Flanagan sent to ABC News, the disgruntled former WDBJ-TV employee said racial discrimination filled him with hatred. 

    "Alison was our bright, shining light and it was cruelly extinguished by yet another crazy person with a gun," Parker's father, Andy Parker, said Wednesday. And Thursday morning, on CNN, he was in tears.

    "My heart is broken ... she just turned 24 last week," he said. "I just wish I could touch her soul."

    Flanagan's evil scheme began with the legal purchase of his gun two days after a church massacre; included an escape plan that involved ditching one car and fleeing in a rental; and ended when he fatally shot himself during a police chase 200 miles from the site of Wednesday’s carnage.

    A sign left at the memorial featured pictures of Parker and Ward. It read: "Shining stars. Beloved in this community. We grieve your deaths and will hold you dear in our hearts always."

    MAP

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

    The Washington Post's Justin Jouvenal, John Woodrow Cox and Dana Hedgepeth contributed to this report. The Associated Press and CNN also contributed to this report.


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    Emergency crews are responding after a food truck exploded outside of a Southwest Miami-Dade home. 

    Sky 10 flew over the scene at 1970 SW 57th Place just after 8:30 a.m. Thursday. According to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, the blast was caused by a propane tank. 

    Debris, including a tire and roofing, is spread across the street. The impact also appears to have blown a fence into the lawn. 

    No one was injured. Authorities are checking if any nearby homes were damaged. 

    Watch Local 10 News and refresh Local10.com for updates on this story. 

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    While you're preparing for Tropical Storm Erika, consider donating blood.

    According to South Florida donation center, OneBlood, hurricanes and tropical storms can disrupt collections for several days, and the days leading up to tropical activity are the most critical for blood donations.

    Generally, healthy people ages 16 or older, who weigh at least 110 pounds, can donate blood.

    Eligible donors can visit a OneBlood Donor Center or a Big Red Bus to help out.

    Visit http://www.oneblood.org/Locations/ for more information.


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    The father of slain WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker said Thursday that he will not rest until law makers implement gun restrictions.

    A gunman shot Andy Parker's 24-year-old daughter early Wednesday morning, while she was live on television in Roanoke, Va. Photojournalist Adam Ward was also killed.

    During an interview with CNN Thursday morning, Parker talked about his "unbearable" grief. He also had a message for the National Rifle Association, an organization that advocates for gun rights.

    "I’m for the Second Amendment, but there has to be a way to force politicians that are cowards and in the pockets of the NRA to come to grips and make sense -- have sensible laws so that crazy people can’t get guns," the distraught father said.

    PHOTOS: Memorial at WDBJ-TV grows

    A “good person with a gun" couldn't have prevented his daughter and photojournalist Adam Ward from being killed, Parker said.

    "I got news for you, if Alison or Adam had been carrying an AK-47 strapped around their waist, it wouldn’t have made any difference," he said.  "They couldn’t have seen this thing coming."

    The banking industry recruiter said he is willing to become "the John Walsh of gun control" if he must. Walsh is a CNN personality who became a victim rights advocate, after his son Adam was murdered in 1981 in South Florida.

    "I’m not going to let this issue drop," the father said. "This is not the last you’ve heard of me, this is Alison’s legacy that I want to make happen."

    TIMELINE: Gunman's employment with WDBJ-TV

    Last month, Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, introduced a bill requiring states to submit mental health records into the national criminal background check system. But critics say this bill isn't doing enough for gun control.

    The issue will likely be at the forefront of the 2016 presidential election. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was quick to share her position on the highly politicized issue after the shooting in Virginia.

    "We cannot wait any longer," Clinton said on Twitter. Later in Iowa, she told reporters, "We have got to do something about gun violence in America and I will take it on. I feel just great heartache at what happened and I want to reiterate how important [it is that] we not let another terrible instance go by without trying to do something more to prevent this incredible killing that is stalking our country."

    Republican Carly Fiorina, who was also in Iowa, told reporters that it was "disappointing that once again, politicians, in this Democrats, politicize a tragedy." She criticized Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

    "They do this every time. Every time we have a tragedy, they use it as an opportunity to push forward their ideological agenda, even though we know that in the vast majority of the cases the things they're pushing for would have made no difference at all ... we ought to be talking about mental health and its treatment, not gun control."

    Gun control activist Gabby Giffords, who was the victim of a gunman in 2011, released a statement referring to the series of mass shootings in South Carolina, Louisiana and Tennessee this summer. 

    "Our country has a gun violence problem," she said. "And shootings like these are far too common."

    Alison Parker's Dad

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

    CNN and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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    The brand new Sun Life stadium is ready for its close up.

    The first wave of stadium renovations is just about done, two days before the preseason opener.

    Members of the media got a sneak peak on Thursday and players like Dolphins running back Lamar Miller told us they're excited to see it in person.

    While the stadium certainly has that "wow" factor Miami is known for, team president Tom Garfinkel says the goal was simple: give fans with a wide range of budgets a chance to enjoy the game.

    So what's new? Well, for one, less is more.

    The stadium will now hold about 65,000 seats, about 10,000 less than before. And most of those seats are now aqua instead of orange.

    Ticket prices range from less than $50 for the cheap seats, all the way up to $600,000 for a season-long "suite" in "The Nines."

    The food is also new: featuring Versailles, Kosher specialties and even sushi.

    So it looks good and it tastes good.

    Now all that's left? Maybe a home playoff game or two.


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    Family members of a security guard who is on life support after he was shot at a Miami-Dade County Metrorail station are speaking about the incident.

    Kevin Cox is faced with a decision no brother wants to make, but as he watches his brother, Keith Cox, lying comatose and kept alive only by a machine, he recalls a conversation in which his brother told them he never wanted to be trapped in a useless body, making the decision to "let him go" easier.

    "Whoever committed this crime, it wasn't an assault. It wasn't a physical threat. It was a murder. They murdered my brother, and for what reason?" Kevin Cox said. "My best friend, my partner. Anybody who knows us knows we were A and B. That's what I lost."

    Keith Cox was shot at the Martin Luther King Metrorail station in Liberty City around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, roughly an hour before his shift was scheduled to end.

    Witnesses told police they saw two men running from the scene.

    "It's just senseless. It doesn't make any sense for such a kind person who doesn't think about negative things like that to be shot," said Kevin Cox's daughter, Launica Cox.

    Understandably, it is also too much for the youngest of Keith Cox's three children to handle -- Lydell Cox is 12 years old, unable to talk and letting his sister share.

    "I sit there and I look at him on the bed and I look at how he looks, knowing that he doesn't look like my father. I am angry," Lydell's sister said.

    "If we don't as a community watch out for each other and speak out when we see something that's wrong, it could be your family murdered next, your father, your uncle or your son," Kevin Cox said.

    Follow John Turchin on Twitter @johnturchin

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    In a working class neighborhood outside San Juan, Puerto Rico, you'll find a surprising sense of optimism despite the island's economic hardships.

    A restaurant owner said he hasn't had to cut anyone's hours, and he's also given workers a slight increase in pay, although a majority of their money comes in from tips.

    Ulises Velasco admits that opening a second business last fall during tough times could have ended in failure.

    Instead, he's grateful for patrons that have allowed him to hire a staff of 14, including five cooks to run a restaurant that serves staples of Puerto Rican dishes.

    Velasco also runs a cafeteria at a hospital. He said it's a business that he's owned for years and has allowed him to save money amid an economic recession.

    "I always wanted to open another business," he said.

    Velasco even flirted with the idea of expanding in the U.S., but said he decided to stay on the island. He said keeping the mojitos flowing hasn't been easy in recent months.

    An increase in the sales tax makes eating out more expensive, and the drought has led to an increase in the cost of food.

    "You think about the customer and not wanting to raise prices," Velasco said.

    Velasco has two cisterns atop the restaurant which allows him to collect water. Workers use it to wash dishes and keep the bathrooms in service on days where water rations kick in for the neighborhood.

    Leaders on the island point to Velasco's success as a remedy to the anemic economy. But some worry that tax hikes and a lack of economic incentives will encourage businesses to look elsewhere.

    "We're losing populations, and that hits home because you're talking about relatives, friends and neighbors leaving Puerto Rico for better opportunities, and they can find themselves overnight in states like Florida," Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi said.  

    Despite the economic hardship, Velasco said he hopes to open another restaurant possibly in Homestead, where he has family.

    "The future is still promising," he said.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter@WPLGLocal10


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