Family seeks justice for high school basketball star fatally shot in Miami

The family of a high school basketball star who was shot dead last fall delivered an emotional plea for information on the killer.

Malcolm Nicholas III, 18, was killed last November in the 1700 block of Northwest Fifth Avenue in the Overtown section of Miami.

“Please help us. I’m begging you. Our lives will never be the same,” his mother, Candice Dean, said.

Police still don’t have a motive for the shooting, and detectives said they have not received tips from the community. 

“Overtown is my community,” Nicholas’ father said. “We need your help.”

Police said the teenager was walking to his father’s home at the time of the shooting.  

The plea was followed by a walk through the neighborhood where the shooting happened. Family, friends and loved ones, along with police, passed out flyers asking for the public’s help. 

Family members said Nicholas was attending school in Tennessee and was in town for a family party and to celebrate Thanksgiving. He previously attended Miami Senior High School, Mater Academy and Believe Prep Academy. 

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

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U.S. Marine known as Miami’s veterans advocate arrested for grand theft

A U.S. Marine who worked under former Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado was arrested Wednesday after he and a friend were accused of stealing $300,000 of donated items meant to help military veterans in need. 

Antonio “Tony” Colmenares, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, served as Miami’s director of veteran services under Regalado and volunteered as the Miami director of The Florida Veterans Foundation, a nonprofit that was meant to offer support to the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. 

When Colmenares organized an event to help homeless veterans, he received more than 27,000 blankets and 9,700 ready-to-eat emergency meals, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. 

“These donated items should have gone to help feed and warm veterans struggling to get back on their feet — instead they were sold to fatten the pockets of those charged with preying on the good intentions of others,” Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a statement.

Colmenares, 57, who helped to implement a Miami-Dade courts program focusing on military veterans in need of help, and his friend Antonio Sabatier, 60, were accused of selling donated items during 2014-2015 transactions and depositing the earnings to an account that was unrelated to the nonprofit. 

Last year, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce recognized Colmenares as Military Service Person of the Year for supporting the community. He also worked as director of emergency services at the American Red Cross’ South Florida region and was a board member of the Support 22 Project, a Delray Beach-based organization helping veterans with traumatic brain injuries. 

While prominent members of the community trusted him, investigators believe Colmenares was pocketing money with the help of a friend.

The proceeds from the 2015 sale of the 27,000 blankets and 9,700 ready-to-eat emergency meals totaled about $46,800, which were deposited into an account of Nike Management, Sebatier’s company, according to FDLE spokeswoman Angela Starke.

“The investigation uncovered that other donated items, such as sleeping bags, cots and backpacks, were also sold for profit,” Starke said. 

Investigators believe Colmenares and Sabatier sold about $79,400 worth of donations to Worldwide Tactical employees, who claim they did not know the donated items were being sold illegally. 

“These items were donated with the express purpose to help our veterans who unselfishly serve our country,” FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said in a statement.  “To take advantage of any opportunity that would benefit them is indefensible.”

Colmenares and Sabatier each face charges of first-degree grand theft. 

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Cleanup underway for ‘boat graveyard’ caused by Hurricane Irma

Months after Hurricane Irma, a Miami marina has become a graveyard for derelict boats. Now this week, a government task force is poised to clear away the stinky, rotting mess.

Usually tasked with cleaning up oil spills, the task force, made of representatives from agencies such as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and U.S. Coast Guard, is tackling the pollution caused by dozens of abandoned boats.

Some of the damaged vessels have been piling up at the Seminole Boat Ramp at Dinner Key Marina in Coconut Grove. 

“It was a junkyard! I don’t know how to describe it,” said Manuel Roman, a sailor who is often in the area.

The boats are not only an eyesore, they are also an environmental threat, as well. The smell is overpowering at the marina, which is filled with sewage, gasoline and rotting wood.

“Until today, they weren’t doing anything, just piling up there,” Coconut Grove resident Jean Perroe said Wednesday. “It probably requires a lot of money to move those things.”

Over the next few days, workers will tow away the vessels – mostly unclaimed sailboats beyond repair – and take them to Watson Island to be destroyed. 

But it is a delicate process. Crews with Sea Tow and George’s Crane Service are placing straps around the boats to then get them in an upright position, and once that’s done, they are loaded on trailers.

“It’s quite tedious,” said Jonathan Pulido with George’s Crane Service. 

The task force has removed more than 2,000 vessels that were abandoned across the state after the hurricane, mostly in the Florida Keys. In Miami, about 250 derelict boats were left behind.

According to Daniel Rotenberg, director of the Department of Real Estate and Asset Management for Miami, the salvage operation will cost at least $145,000.

Rotenberg expects work to finish by Monday, and then the Seminole Boat Ramp will reopen to the public.

 

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Downtown Miami church sells for $55 million

The First United Methodist Church of Miami sold its building in downtown Miami to the Property Markets Group for $55 million. 

The church and PMG closed the deal for the 1.15-acre site at 400 Biscayne Blvd., Jan. 18. PMG will be building a space for the church in the 690-units tower near Miami-Dade College’s downtown campus and the Metromover.

The project will be part of PMG’s X Social Communities, which has a 464-unit building under construction across the street at 230 NE Fourth St., and a 650-unit tower in downtown Fort Lauderdale. 

 

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Check out that super blue blood moon over Miami

Did you wake up before dawn, look to the sky and check out that moon?

It was a trifecta of lunar events that hadn’t happened in more than 150 years.

A blue moon, a supermoon and a total lunar eclipse all took place at the same time Wednesday morning in North America for the first time since 1866.

So what does it all mean?

  • Blue moon: the second full moon in a calendar month
  • Supermoon: a full moon that appears larger because it is at its closest point to the earth
  • Blood moon: the name given to the moon during a total lunar eclipse because of its red appearance

Of course, South Florida only got a partial glimpse at the eclipse, but those folks living out west could see the full effect.

Local 10 News meteorologist Julie Durda said the best viewing was from 6:48 a.m. to 7:05 a.m.

Be sure to download the WPLG Local 10 Weather app to receive the latest and most accurate information about severe weather where you live and work. You can find it by searching “WPLG Local 10 Weather” in your iTunes or Google Play app stores.

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