News of the Weird

LEAD STORY -- Smooth Reaction

A naked man opened the door to firefighters responding to a house fire in Niceville, Florida, on Aug. 27 and said "I'm sorry" before closing the door in their faces. James Cunningham, 53, later admitted to police he'd had two liters of vodka and had smoked marijuana before trying to bake cookies on his George Foreman grill, reported WPLG Local 10. The experiment went wrong when the grill and cookies caught fire, so he covered them with a dry towel, which also caught fire. Firefighters said if he'd been in the house any longer, he could have died from smoke inhalation. [Local10.com, 9/10/2018]

Anger Management

Djuan Lewis, 23, landed a new job at Benada Aluminum Products in Sanford, Florida, on Aug. 30, a Thursday. On Sunday morning, his boss fired him. WFTV reported that following his dismissal, Lewis waited for his boss for two hours outside the business, then chased him and his girlfriend for a mile and a half, shooting at their car and hitting the rear bumper, trunk and right rear tire. Neither the supervisor nor his girlfriend was hurt. Sanford police arrested Lewis and changed him with attempted murder. [WFTV, 9/4/2018]

Questionable Judgment

School resource officer and part-time police officer Maryssa Boskoski, 32, was called into a classroom at Liberty Preparatory School in Smithville, Ohio, on Aug. 30 to help rouse a sleeping student who could not be awakened by the teacher or even the principal. When Boskoski arrived, The Washington Post reported, her solution was to unholster her Taser, remove the firing cartridge and pull the trigger, causing an electric buzz that woke the student and shocked the school community. Smithville Police Chief Howard Funk placed Boskoski on unpaid leave and told WEWS news station Boskoski had been disciplined a month earlier, also for a Taser-related incident. An investigation was ongoing. [The Washington Post, 9/6/2018]

Oops

New Jersey resident Gregory Lazarchick, 56, made a bad day worse on July 21 when he told greeters at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, he'd been sent by al-Qaida to "blow the place up." According to the Orlando Sentinel, the greeters told Orange County deputies Lazarchick complained of having a bad day before issuing his threat, but deputies found no bomb-making materials in Lazarchick's hotel room. The man's sister reported he had suffered a head injury several years ago and sometimes said inappropriate things. The remorseful Lazarchick posted bond after his arrest for false report of a bombing. [Orlando Sentinel, 9/5/2018]

Ewwww!

At Kirby High School in Memphis, Tennessee, things are quiet as a mouse ... or a rat. Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson told the Memphis Commercial Appeal he's looking for a temporary home for Kirby's 800 students after closing the school Sept. 5 due to a rat infestation. The problem started in mid-August, when district personnel uncovered a rat's nest during a renovation project. Eighty rats were trapped at the school and poison was set out. When students returned after Labor Day, poisoned rats began dying within the school's walls and the stench became overwhelming. Calling the situation an "unavoidable act of nature," Hopson said he expects students to return in early November. [Memphis Commercial Appeal, 9/7/2018]

Irony

Lona and Joseph Johnson of Bellingham, Washington, survived the Las Vegas mass shooting last October and decided to get a dog to help with the trauma that haunted them after the incident. "We heard that dogs are good pets to help with the healing and PTSD ... and got Jax," Joseph told the Bellingham (Washington) Herald. But on Sept. 2, neighbor Odin Maxwell, 49, shot and killed Jax, telling police the dog was chasing his chickens. An investigation showed no chickens were harmed, and Maxwell was cited for discharging a firearm. [Bellingham Herald, 9/6/2018]

Family Values

Patricia Ann Hill, 69, of White Hall, Arkansas, called 911 on July 28 to report she had shot her husband, Frank, 65. But she had a motive: Patricia told Jefferson County Sheriff's investigators she had previously disagreed with her husband's purchase of a pornography channel on Dish Network, and she canceled the channel, telling Frank that if he reordered it, he'd have to leave. That day, reported the Pine Bluff Commercial, the Dish bill arrived, revealing that the channel had been re-added, so Patricia confronted Frank in his "man cave" and told him to go. When he refused, Patricia fetched a .22-caliber pistol from the house and shot him twice, killing him. Hill was charged with capital murder and held without bond in the Jefferson County adult detention center. [Pine Bluff Commercial, 8/2/2018]

Bright Idea

It's one way to get a ride to lunch: Knox County (Kentucky) Sheriff's deputies responded on Aug. 24 to a home in Corbin, where Kenneth Ray Couch, 35, had reportedly stolen a handgun. As they searched for Couch, they learned he had been transported to the hospital in an ambulance after staging a heart attack at nearby Dixon's market. When police arrived at Baptist Health Corbin, WYMT reported, they found Couch in the cafeteria, which had apparently been his goal all along. Couch was arrested and charged with first-degree burglary and falsely reporting an incident. [WYMT, 8/27/2018]

Least Competent Criminal

Taiheem M. McKay, 23, of Riverhead, New York, made it easy for Suffolk County officials to track him down after suspecting him of breaking into 10 different homes over the course of seven months, stealing cash, jewelry and designer accessories. According to Newsday, the Suffolk County Department of Probation traced McKay to the burglary locations through his GPS ankle monitor, which he was wearing as a result of a February 2017 second-degree reckless endangerment conviction. McKay has additional pending indictments in other burglaries. [Newsday, 9/7/2018]

The Passing Parade

Known for his blond mullet and numerous social media rants, zoo owner Joe Exotic (real name: Joseph Maldonado-Passage) of Wynnewood, Oklahoma, has been cooling his heels in a Florida jail since his arrest Sept. 7 for allegedly attempting to hire two people in late 2017 to kill an unnamed woman. According to the Orlando Sentinel, one of those "killers" was an undercover FBI agent, and Exotic was indicted on federal murder-for-hire charges. It all started "many, many years" ago, said Carole Baskin of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, who claims to be the "unnamed woman" Exotic was hoping to off. She said Exotic has threatened her repeatedly and posted online a video of himself shooting an effigy of Baskin in the head. Tangentially, Exotic was also a candidate in a three-way Libertarian primary run for governor in Oklahoma this summer. He finished third. [Orlando Sentinel, 9/10/2018]

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