Inside Scoop

Woman Who Saw Boyfriend Killed By Cop in 2012, Arrested With Multiple Guns And Drugs

EUSTIS, Florida—A woman arrested earlier this week with nearly 4 pounds of marijuana was a co-plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Lake County Sheriff’s Office nearly a decade ago when her boyfriend was killed by a deputy at the front door of the apartment they shared in 2012.

According to an arrest affidavit, Miranda April Mauck, 30, was traveling 17 miles an hour over the speed limit on County Road 44, around 8:30 p.m. Monday night. An officer with Eustis Police Department pulled her over for speeding in the parking lot of CVS Pharmacy at the corner of C.R. 44 and State Road 19 and could smell marijuana emitting from her vehicle.

An EPD K-9 officer responded to the scene and K-9 Mya’s handler spotted marijuana in a backpack in plain view on the front passenger floorboard, and along with the marijuana, more than $2,000 cash was found, the affidavit states. Mauck was taken into custody and when officers searched her vehicle, they found a Glock 9mm and Ruger .380 under Mauck’s seat, more marijuana, scales, marijuana packaging, THC oil, vape bars and 10 chocolate bars containing Psilocybin mushrooms.

Mauck was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to sell, two counts of carrying a concealed firearm, possession of THC oil, possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was transported to the Lake County Jail, where she was released after just a few hours on $14,000 bond.

On July 15, 2012, Mauck’s boyfriend, Andrew Lee “Drew” Scott, 26, was killed when a LCSO deputy came to his door—the wrong door—looking for a battery suspect. A lawsuit filed in 2013 by Mauck and Scott’s parents against then-Sheriff Gary borders and Deputy Richard Sylvester claimed, Sylvester, “banged on the door” of Mauck’s apartment in Leesburg in the early morning, “in such a manner to bewilder or frighten the residents and foreseeably place said residents in a defense posture.”

Andrew Lee “Drew” Scott PHOTO: Facebook/Justice For Drew

Mauck and Scott were watching TV in apartment 114 at Blueberry Hill Apartments in Leesburg and Scott, fearing for their safety, retrieved his legally owned handgun and opened the door. Sylvester fired six shots, striking Scott at least three times and killing him. Mauck was struck by glass and debris. Sylvester did not announce himself as law enforcement and was not criminally charged.

In response to the lawsuit, defendants Borders and Sylvester filed a motion for a summary judgment and the court granted Sylvester qualified immunity and denied Mauck’s and Scott’s parent’s claims. They appealed the ruling and Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling. 

Speeding Delivery Driver Busted With Meth On The Job

FRUITLAND PARK, Florida—A DoorDash delivery driver dashed his way to the Lake County Jail early Monday morning after he was pulled over for speeding and a K-9 officer alerted to methamphetamine in his truck.

A Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputy noticed a small truck that appeared to be speeding around 12:35 a.m. Monday on Picciola Road, near Riverview Drive. After using his radar, the deputy found the truck was traveling 53 mph in a 35 mph zone, according to the arrest affidavit.

LCSO performed a traffic stop and the driver, Michael James Hamilton, 32, of Summerfield, told the deputy he was a DoorDash driver and on his way to deliver food. The deputy asked if there was anything illegal in the truck and asked for consent to search.

Hamilton denied the deputy consent and a Fruitland Park K-9 responded to the scene to do an open-air sniff of the truck. The K-9 alerted and LCSO requested Hamilton step out of the truck, the affidavit states. Hamilton told LCSO there was an empty bag of methamphetamine in the driver’s door. When the deputy removed Hamilton from the truck, he found the baggie in plain view with a crystal-like residue that field-tested positive for methamphetamine.

Hamilton was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was transported to the Lake County Jail, where he is being held on $3,000 bond. 

Umatilla Man Killed in New Year ATV Crash

UMATILLA, Florida—The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a fatal ATV crash that occurred just 30 minutes into the new year Saturday morning.

A 36-year-old Umatilla man was riding an ATV westbound on Lakeview Street near Lakeshore Avenue in the area of Lake Umatilla, when he lost control around 12:30 a.m., FHP Lt. Kim Montes said in a press release. The ATV overturned and landed on top of the man.

The man, who was not wearing a helmet, was transported to AdventHealth Waterman in Tavares, where he later died. The crash remains under investigation.

Duo Follows Intended Robbery Victim Into MDPD Parking Lot

MOUNT DORA, Florida—Two men who followed their intended robbery victim right into the parking lot of Mount Dora Police Department are behind bars on no bond.

Shortly before 1:30 a.m. Wednesday a man in a truck pulled into the parking lot of MDPD, followed by another vehicle. The man in the truck told police the vehicle had been following him since he was in Orange County, flashing its high beams at him and making him feel uncomfortable. As the officer spoke to the victim, a man exited the second vehicle and made statements, “about a small Hispanic officer that shot him and then began stating something about the Marine Corps and other incoherent items,” the arresting officer noted in the arrest affidavit. The victim then left the police department.

Police attempted to identify the driver of the second vehicle, and he gave them a false name and then gave them a second name, Lionel Malik Pierre, that matched description information in the Drivers and Vehicle Information Database (DAVID.) They later received information from Apopka Police Department, the man’s name is Leopold Pierre, 50, of Vero Beach and he has been known to use the alias, Lionel Pierre.

Police then attempted to identify the second male in the vehicle, who gave them an incorrect last name. They were able to identify him as Darion Waldo, 33. Waldo then told police the vehicle they were in was stolen and they were following the truck to commit an armed robbery on the driver, the affidavit states. He continued to tell police the pair “robbed” a female of the vehicle they were in and committed two other robberies in Orange County.

Waldo, of Sanford, told MDPD he did not want to take part in the robberies, but he did not do anything to stop them, or turn Pierre in. Police searched the vehicle and found a knife and ski mask. Waldo said the mask was his, but then said it was not his, according to the affidavit.

PHOTO: Mount Dora Police Department

Volusia County Sheriff’s Office deputies contacted the owner of the vehicle at their home in Volusia County and the owner said his vehicle had been stolen earlier in the day, but he had not reported it yet. He responded to MDPD and completed an intent to prosecute; the driver of the truck also came back to MDPD and completed an intent to prosecute, the affidavit states.

MDPD sent out a Be On (the) Lookout (BOLO) to surrounding law enforcement agencies and Apopka Police Department reported they had an incident earlier in the day and they identified who MDPD believed to be Lionel Pierre, as Leopold Pierre.

After running a check on Leopold Pierre, police found he has a criminal history in Florida and South Carolina, but Lionel has no criminal history. Leopold had also used Lionel’s name as an alias in the past, according to the affidavit.

Pierre and Waldo were both arrested for false name to law enforcement, attempted robbery with a deadly weapon, possession of burglary tools, aggravated stalking, grand theft of a motor vehicle and petit theft. Pierre was booked under Leopold Pierre in the Lake County Jail; both Pierre and Waldo are being held on no bond.

Leesburg Teen Arrested For 34 Felonies After One Victim Said He “Let A Whole Clip Go” At Local Park

LEESBURG, Florida—A Leesburg High School student accused of opening fire at Berry Park Thanksgiving weekend was arrested Tuesday and is facing 34 felony and two misdemeanor charges, according to an arrest affidavit.

On Nov. 28, around 5:45 p.m., Leesburg Police Department responded to Berry Park, 2121 Johns Avenue in reference to a disturbance, battery and shooting.

LPD arrived at the park to find more than two dozen people and most refused to speak with officers, according to the affidavit. One woman, who refused to give her name, came forward and said the altercation began over a black female driving a red car, pulling into the parking lot and nearly striking a child. The red vehicle left, but one of the occupants returned later in a gray SUV and an argument began and shots were fired, the affidavit states.

Victim one flagged officers down at another location and said she rode to Berry Park in a red car earlier with three friends and an older black female confronted victim one’s friend, the driver about what she felt was careless driving. The woman then reached into the car window and “mushed” victim one’s face. Victim one rolled her window up and Zamarion Z. Johnson, 17, tapped on the window with an unknown object and is alleged to have said, “B****, what you want to do?”

Berry Park PHOTO: Leesburg Recreation Department

Victim one, who knows Johnson, said there were 60 to 80 people at the park, and she believed Johnson’s family was having a gathering. She then left the park and was dropped off at her mother’s home.   

She told her mother and sister, victim two and victim three, what happened, and the trio decided to return to Berry Park to talk to the female about the altercation, according to the affidavit. When they arrived at the park in the gray SUV, a large group of people approached them arguing and it became physical. Victims one and there were punched in the face and victim two received a small cut to her head.

The victims got back into the SUV and began to back out when Johnson took out a handgun and fired numerous shots at the SUV.  Victim one stated, “(Johnson) let a whole clip go.”

The SUV was shot four times, a second vehicle was shot through the front passenger window and LPD found 10 9mm shell casings at the scene, according to the affidavit. Victim one was transported to UF Health Leesburg and while she was there, she showed an LPD detective a photo of someone she identified as “Mari” with a Facebook profile name of “Bi Mari.” The photo matched the in-house photo LPD has of Johnson, the detective noted in the affidavit. Victim one also described where Johnson lives and victims two and three identified Johnson separately in a photo lineup.

LPD responded to Johnson’s home, and he admitted being at the park during the first altercation, but said he went home before the second altercation and shooting occurred.

Police obtained surveillance video from the park that showed “The subject was standing in front of the vehicle firing directly at the victims. The large crowd of people began to run, to include small children, who were just to the left of the shooter, in between him and the victims’ vehicle,” the LPD detective stated in the affidavit.

Johnson was arrested for 30 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, four counts of shooting a deadly missile into a vehicle, discharging a firearm in a public place and possession of a firearm by a minor. He was turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice. 

Woman Arrested Last Year After Tot Required 3 Doses Of Narcan, Busted Thursday With Meth/Marijuana Edibles, Facing New Neglect Charge

LEESBURG, Florida—A woman who was arrested for child neglect last year after a toddler in her care overdosed and required three doses of Narcan has been arrested again for child neglect and drug trafficking, along with numerous other charges.

Leesburg Police responded to Microtel Inn, 9700 U.S. Highway 441 Thursday morning in reference to multiple warrants for Destinee Rose Keen, 29.  After finding out what room she was staying in, LPD knocked on the door of Room 110 and police found her in the room with a child whose information is redacted from the arrest affidavit.

In plain view, officers found a scale, 5 grams of unprescribed medical marijuana, nearly 3 grams of methamphetamine and 92 grams of methamphetamine/marijuana edible candy. Keen told police they were just marijuana edibles she got from a friend, but when a sergeant broke a piece of the candy, it had a crystal substance in the center. The candies field tested positive for both methamphetamine and marijuana, according to the affidavit.

Destinee Keen/PHOTO: Lake County Sheriff’s Office

The child was turned over to Keen’s boyfriend and Keen was arrested for trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia and child neglect. Several charges have been added since she was booked into the Lake County Jail, including failure to appear and three counts of violation of probation. She is being held on no bond.

In September 2020, Keen took an unresponsive 3-year-old child to The Villages Regional Hospital, according to a probable cause affidavit. Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies met with a Sumter County Sheriff’s Office deputy who told them the child was given Narcan and intubated and started to “come around” and extubated, according to the affidavit. The SCSO deputy said the child then “crashed” and was given two more doses of Narcan. The toddler had amphetamine and Fentanyl in his system, according to the affidavit. The relationship between Keen and that child is unknown, and it is unknown if that child was the same one with her at her most recent arrest. 

Feud Over Security Light Ends In Apparent Murder/Suicide

PAISLEY, Florida—The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an apparent murder-suicide involving neighbors that occurred on Fisherman’s Road in Paisley Monday afternoon.

LCSO responded to a home on Fisherman’s Road at 12:50 p.m. and found Timothy Patch, 59, “We discovered him dead from an apparent gunshot wound, LCSO Lt. Fred Jones told Inside Lake.

LCSO then discovered Eric Hilderbrand, 61, dead behind a home from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Jones said. The pair were neighbors and had an ongoing feud about a security light that had started in October; Hilderbrand was apparently upset that the light was shining in a bedroom in the home he shared with his sister. There was a confrontation between Patch and Hilderbrand Monday afternoon and Patch’s murder was captured on video, Jones said.

LCSO did not respond to any prior calls about the feud, but code enforcement had received at least one call, Jones said. The outcome of that call was unclear at press time. 

Fatal Crash Shuts Down SR 44 Monday Morning

LAKE COUNTY, Florida—A Daytona Beach man is dead following a head-on crash Monday morning on State Road 44, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The man, 20, was driving an SUV westbound on State Road 44 near Fentress Lane in the Pine Lakes area, around 6:15 a.m., when he traveled into the eastbound lane, FHP Lt. Kim Montes said in a press release.

The SUV struck a pickup truck being driven by a 20-year-old Webster man head-on, causing the SUV to overturn. The Daytona Beach man was pronounced dead on the scene; it is unknown if he was wearing his seatbelt. The Webster man, who was wearing his seatbelt, was transported to AdventHealth Waterman with serious injuries.

The crash shut State Road 44 down for several hours Monday morning and remains under investigation, Montes said. 

City of Eustis, First Responders And Vets Give Back to the Community

MOUNT DORA, Florida— “We’re gonna take over and go crazy!”

Eustis Police Chief Craig Capri’s announcement to 22 children and their caregivers early Sunday morning was met with claps and cheers as they made their way into Walmart in Mount Dora to spend gift cards that were generously donated by the community, including the AMVETS and current and retired employees.

“This day would not be possible without the AMVETS,” Capri told Inside Lake.

PHOTO: Bonnie Whicher/Inside Lake

Capri was joined by his two thirds of his command staff, Capts. Ken Toler and Dave Carney, and several of his road patrol officers and administrative staff, in addition to Eustis Fire Chief Mike Swanson and Deputy Fire Chief Scott Davis and several EFD firefighters. Acting City Manager Tom Carrino was also in attendance.

Children were each given a $200 limit to spend, made possible by the AMVETS’ donations and donations from current and retired employees. EPD recently held its annual Christmas party and raised $640 in donations for this event, EPD Sgt. Elena Pasek said. A retired officer joined in Sunday’s fun too and not only shopped with one of the children, but also transported his newly purchased bicycle home because it would not fit in his mom’s car.

“It’s important to Chief Capri to always include our retirees in these projects,” Pasek said.

PHOTO: Bonnie Whicher/Inside Lake

The children hit the toy and electronic aisles running; Michael, 11, a fifth grader at Eustis Heights Elementary was calculating his Transformers and Power Rangers purchases as he threw them in the cart and voiced his concerns about tax. When asked how he knew about sales tax, Michael replied, “Because I do the math.”

PHOTO: Bonnie Whicher/Inside Lake

8-year-old Lisa, who is a third-grade homeschooler, purchased a sweatshirt with Grogu emblazoned across the front, a soccer ball and two Care Bears. The Care Bears were Lisa’s favorite purchase and she said she plans to snuggle and sleep with them.

Ryan, 14, grabbed a Nerf gun and was on the hunt for a PS4 controller when Inside Lake talked to him. “It’s my favorite,” the Eustis High School freshman said.

Participants were treated to a huge breakfast after shopping, provided by the AMVETS. Steve Ivie, an Army veteran who has been a member since 2014, said Capri came to them for help with this event and they did not hesitate.

“Everything we do, we put back in the community,” he said. “We’re always doing something.”

PHOTO: Bonnie Whicher/Inside Lake

Ivie was all smiles as he shopped and he said often, the kids will buy personal hygiene items and necessities with their gift cards and members will come out of pocket for those purchases so the kids can spend their money on fun things. “Help the kids, that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Capri echoed his sentiment, “It’s a time for us (EPD) to give back to the community. No kid should have to go without Christmas.”

Tavares Police Officer And Infant Share Special Bond

TAVARES, Florida—Britney Ochoa has a lot to be grateful for this holiday season.

Last month, just before she was about to go to bed around 11 p.m., her mom’s instinct kicked in and she checked on her son Elias to find he was not breathing. Just 2 months old at the time, Elias had spent the beginning of his life in the hospital and mom had just recently brought him home.

Ochoa, 22, called 9-1-1 and some might say Elias’ guardian angel appeared in the form of Tavares Police Officer Teddy Pearl. Pearl arrived on scene to find Ochoa performing CPR on tiny Elias.

“He literally took over CPR for me,” Ochoa told Inside Lake. “I was in shock.”

Elias was born with holes in his heart and has undergone open heart surgery since the incident on Nov. 13, where his airway was described as “floppy.” He is deaf in one ear and suffers from a condition that makes his heart rate drop and oxygen levels go down causing him difficulty breathing, but that seems to be improving now, Ochoa said. He recently underwent a sleep study and it came back normal.

“He pulls himself out of those (episodes,)” she said.

Elias is still in the hospital, but Ochoa hopes to be bringing him back home soon. Big brother Sterling, 2, who has epilepsy, misses his little brother tremendously, Ochoa said, and cannot wait for him to come home. Sterling is not allowed to visit Elias in the hospital due to COVID-19 protocols, she said, but Elias got a special visit from Officer Pearl this week, Tavares Police Public Information Officer Courtney Sullivan told Inside Lake Friday.  

PHOTO: Courtesy of Britney Ochoa

“Officer Pearl has maintained contact with the family and visited the family on his day off. He has stated that this call in particular has impacted him, and he keeps in touch to check on the family,” Sullivan said.

Pearl’s recent hospital visit included a new toy for Elias, snuggles and a few photos. Pearl told Inside Lake this was his first time rendering aid to an infant and when he arrived Elias’ family all looked to him for help; his mind went back to his days in the academy when instructors warned him this day would come.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Britney Ochoa

“You have that split second where you’re like OK—do something,” he said.  

Pearl took Elias from Ochoa and after taking over CPR, “He started gasping,” and Pearl kept his airway open until he was transported to the hospital. Pearl said he is glad he can be a law enforcement officer and directly help the community. “I love that about my department, you’re not just a badge number,” he said.

Pearl has constantly asked for updates on Elias and feels like he has a bond with the entire family, “I have an attachment to him now.” Pearl is aware of Elias ’current and prior health issues and is amazed by his strength and resilience at his very young age.

“That’s a real fighter,” Pearl said. “That’s a real hero.” 

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