Your Florida Daily: Deadly rip currents caused by Hurricane Lee, stolen excavator taken for a joyride

Plus: The largest Civil War battle fought in Florida

A red flag is flown at a lifeguard tower in Volusia County Monday. (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Hurricane Lee is causing dangerous rip currents along the east coast and officials in Volusia County say at least one person has drowned.

According to Beach Safety, a man died in Daytona Beach Monday marking the county’s ninth drowning so far this year.

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The National Weather Service said despite Lee not being a direct threat to Florida high surf and rip currents will likely last all week.

Officials are again reminding everyone to always swim in front of a staffed lifeguard tower and swim parallel to shore if they get caught up in a rip current.

A child’s birthday party in Polk County ends with a man shot to death at an Airbnb rental home.

Deputies responded to the Airbnb near Championsgate around 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

They said a 27-year-old man walked out of the home to deliver some food to people in a car outside.

That’s when deputies said people inside that car started shooting.

“There is a volley of gunshots that ring out.  He is knocked down from the gunfire,” Sheriff Grady Judd said at a news conference.

He said the man died at the hospital and a 26-year-old woman was shot in the leg through the front door.

Investigators are now gathering surveillance video and cell phone records to identify the shooters.

The only clue so far: two plates of discarded food given to the shooters.

“Did they not like the free meal?  Was it served to them cold?  Or did they use that as a ruse so they could get him outside so they could shoot and kill him?  All of that is under investigation.”

Judd said the Airbnb was being used for a small gathering and that the shooting did not fit the normal profile of an unruly house party.

Stolen excavator (Gainesville Police Department)

A man is in custody after Gainesville police said stole a large excavator and took it on a joyride.

Pictures posted online show the yellow excavator outside a Walmart automotive building.

Police said he managed to take down a few power poles and even drove the excavator through the wall of the Walmart and a storage unit nearby.

No one was hurt but so far police haven’t said why or how this happened.

Random Florida Fact

The Battle of Olustee or the Battle of Ocean Pond was fought in Baker County, Florida on Feb. 20, 1864, during the American Civil War.

It was the largest battle fought in Florida during the war.

Today, the battlefield is partially protected in a Florida State Park located within the Osceola National Forest.

While graves of unknown Confederate soldiers killed at Olustee exist in nearby Lake City, there is still no monument to the Union dead of this battle.

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About the Author:

Katrina Scales is a producer for the News 6+ Takeover at 5:30 p.m. She also writes and voices the podcast Your Florida Daily. Katrina was born and raised in Brevard County and started her journalism career in radio before joining News 6 in June 2021.