Tuesday January 19, 2021

Last Monday, January 11, just after midnight, Hendry County Deputies responded to a shooting in the Twin Lakes area of Clewiston.  When they got there, they noticed bullet holes in the victim’s car. The shooting apparently stemmed from an earlier incident that happened in another county. Detectives learned that 28-year-old Samantha Lucio, along with 25-year-old Manuel Enrique Ortiz went to Twin Lakes looking for the victim.  Ortiz apparently made good on a promise to shoot him, pointing a gun and, firing into the victim’s vehicle.  Detectives arrested Ortiz on Thursday January 14, on charges of Attempted Homicide, Shooting a Deadly Missile into a Vehicle, and Use of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony. Ortiz is currently being held in the Hendry County Jail on $250,000.00 bond.

Snowcat Ridge, Florida’s snow park, closed for the season at the end of business yesterday. The announcement was made on the snow park’s Facebook page. The snow park was also closed briefly in December after Pasco County Fire Rescue and Building Construction Services discovered fire, building, electrical and plumbing violations. The park was since reinspected and allowed to reopen. According to the attraction’s website, the park was expected to be open select dates through March. As of yesterday, Snowcat Ridge is not expected to reopen for its second season until November.

A Clewiston man was arrested on several charges last week, including attempted homicide. On Thursday, January 14, Hendry County Sheriff’s Office arrested 20-year-old Johon Willingham for allegedly shooting a man twice, while an infant and a school bus filled with children were in direct view.  At 330 in the afternoon back in early December, Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Deputies got a call about shots fired in the area of 10th Street in the Harlem Community. Detectives determined that the victim was driving with two other adults and a baby in the car, when they were flagged down by a group young adult men. The victim pulled over as the front seat passenger of Willingham’s vehicle got out to talk with the group of young men, but a fight broke out between them. The victim got out of the driver seat and tried to break up the fight. It was at this time Willingham pulled out a handgun and began to fire shots at the victim striking him twice. The investigation revealed the victim was running towards his vehicle at the time he was being shot at, his infant nephew still in the car. Also nearby, a school bus filled with elementary children as the incident unfolded in front of the bus. Willingham is currently being held in the Hendry County Jail with no bond. He faces charges of Attempted Homicide, Use of a Firearm during a Felony and Cruelty toward a Child. 

Community members gathered yesterday in the Ford-Sunset community for the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. March. Some say, they were disappointed but not surprised at the low turnout. Still, they showed unity in memory of the civil rights hero, holding signs that read “love not hate” and being “stronger together”. One woman is quoted as saying, “Every day in this country, in this state, and right here in LaBelle, people of color are used, harassed, and degraded. Enough is enough. I want a better future for my son.” They wore masks as they walked hand-in-hand down Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The march ended with volunteers serving up hot food and cold refreshments, donated to the event.

Thousands of people are not going back for their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Florida Health Department. Some 915,000 people have received their first dose, but nearly 41,000 people who were scheduled to get a second dose never showed up — a huge cause for concern since the vaccine comes in two doses and people need both to be 95% protected from the coronavirus. We’ll be following up with a word from our local health official, to get exact data for our area.

A 39-year-old man is in the Hendry County jail, for a sexual abuse act committed 5 years ago. Investigators for Hendry County say they were contacted by a Child Advocacy Agency, before issuing a warrant for the arrest of Danny Lee Ringo. He’s being charged with Sexual assault with a victim under 12. Ringo was arrested in Texas, and extradited back to Hendry County where he is being held with no bond. Captain Susan Harrelle says, if you are made aware of a child that may have been sexually abused please reach out to local law enforcement and report it.