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Fired gym worker accused in hatchet killing of ex-boss nabbed in Kentucky

A Nashville man accused of using a hatchet to kill the gym owner who fired him last year has been caught by troopers with the Kentucky State Police, authorities said. 

Domenic Micheli, 36, was arrested Tuesday night in Bowling Green after an alert motorist on Interstate 65 recognized the Toyota Prius the fugitive was driving, the Tennessean reported. Micheli had been on the run since the slaying of Joel Paavola, 46, early Monday morning. 

“Due to the media coverage of out Nashville, the caller was able to ID the car and the subject,” Lt. Jeremy Smith, a Kentucky State Police spokesman, told the newspaper

Troopers were able to catch up with Micheli and pull him over about 25 minutes after the call from the motorist. Micheli was arrested without incident. 

Metro Nashville police officials said that Paavola, the well-known owner of Balance Training, in Belle Meade, was helping clients with a workout routine just before 7 a.m. Monday when a man, later identified as Micheli, walked in with a hatchet and another bladed weapon, described as either another hatchet or a large knife. 

Paavola fired Micheli from his job at the gym 14 months ago, the Tennessean reported

>> Read more trending news

Witnesses told police that Micheli struck Paavola with the weapons multiple times before leaving, police officials said in a statement. Paavola died on the way to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 

“Just a senseless, brutal, violent attack this morning on Mr. Paavola as he was there in the business,” Metro Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron told the Tennessean Monday

Surveillance footage from the parking garage underneath the strip mall where the gym is located showed that Micheli was driving an older model silver Yaris or Prius, the police statement saidThe Tennessean reported that the footage showed Micheli pacing in the garage before the attack on Paavola. 

The suspect was next spotted less than 90 minutes after the attack at a Gallatin urgent care facility, where he limped in and asked for a suture kit, the newspaper reported. He refused to wait or provide his personal information and left. 

Surveillance footage obtained by investigators next showed Micheli around 9:15 a.m. Monday, approaching the counter of a drugstore in Gallatin, which is about 35 miles northeast of Belle Meade. In the video, he appears to be purchasing first aid items.

At one point, he is seen examining his clothing and his arms.

Before Micheli’s arrest, investigators were searching for him as far away as Oregon and Washington, D.C., where he was known to have previously spent time. Metro Nashville police officials said Monday that Micheli was arrested by the U.S. Secret Service on April 27 for driving his car to a checkpoint near the White House and refusing to move it. 

A GoFundMe page set up to help Paavola’s family collected more than double its $75,000 goal in one day. As of Wednesday afternoon, it had amassed close to $200,000. 

“Joel Paavola was a phenomenal man, father, husband and role model,” the fundraising page read. “He was bright, happy-go-lucky and never ceased to make you smile.”

The fundraising team said that Paavola always prioritized his wife and five children, who “were the most important and loved people in his life.”

“He always put his family first, and we want that to carry on after his unfortunate passing,” the page read

Tyson Ford, a family friend who created the page, told the Tennessean that he grew up with Paavola’s oldest son. He said the trainer was a father figure to him. 

“He took in a lot of his children’s friends,” Ford, 23, told the newspaper. “You just knew you could count on him. It was humbling to feel that from someone else.”

Ford said the goal of fundraisers was to “wrap (their) arms around (the family).”

Christina Burks, a former Nashville resident, told the Tennessean that she felt compelled to donate to the cause. 

“He was more than a trainer. He was one of my best friends in Nashville,” Burks, 30, told the newspaper. “He was there for me when my grandmother passed away and when my now-husband and I started dating.

“I can’t say enough good things about him.”

Belle Meade, which gets its name from Belle Meade Plantation, has the highest per capita income in Tennessee and one of the highest in the nation. It was named by Forbes as one of the 25 top places to retire rich.

Former Vice President Al Gore is just one of the prominent residents of the city.

Man bleeds to death on roof of house he broke into, police say

A Michigan man cut himself while breaking into houses last month and bled to death on the roof of one of his targets, police said. 

Vincent Parnell Reynolds, 36, of Petoskey, died May 27 after leaving a party he attended at a home east of the city, WPBN-TV in Traverse City reported. Police officials said Reynolds, who had recently moved to Petoskey from Saginaw for work, then broke into two houses nearby.

No one was home in the first house, but the homeowner was in the second one, the news station said. After a confrontation, Reynolds broke a window to escape onto the roof. 

“It’s our belief that, while he was breaking out the windows with his hands, he severed an artery in his arm and therefore had an arterial bleed and was losing a significant amount of blood,” Matthew Breed, director of the Petoskey Department of Public Safety, told WPBN

>> Read more trending news

Responding officers attempted to reach Reynolds using a ladder, but were too late to save him from the massive bleeding he suffered. Breed said Reynolds was unarmed at the time of the break-in. 

Investigators do not believe Reynolds intended to steal anything from the houses he broke into, the news station reported. They are awaiting toxicology reports to determine if he had been under the influence of anything when he died.  

Zombies in Florida? City alert accidentally blames the undead for power outage

Don't worry, Florida residents: You still have time to prepare for the zombie apocalypse, even though a strange alert sent early Sunday may have had many Lake Worth residents thinking otherwise.

>> Read more trending news 

According to the Palm Beach Post, the South Florida city mistakenly issued a "zombie alert for residents of Lake Worth and Terminus" – likely a reference to AMC's "The Walking Dead" – that blamed "extreme zombie activity" for a power outage.

>> Click here to see the alert

City spokesman Ben Kerr later told Facebook group Lake Worth Live that officials were "looking into reports that the system mentioned zombies," adding that the city "does not have any zombie activity currently," the Post reported.

>> Read more at PalmBeachPost.com

WATCH: Bear roams outside cabin rental office, hops into truck

A cabin rental office in Tennessee received surprise visitors this week.

>> Read more trending news 

A bear roamed the parking lot of the Chalet Village office on Wednesday, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported. After unsuccessfully trying to access a trash bin and pausing at the front door, the bear sauntered over to a company pickup truck and easily opened the door. The bear climbed into the back of the truck momentarily, before being shooed out by employees.

Chalet Village representative Cindy Dale Jenkins told the Knoxville News Sentinel that another bear paid a visit to a company truck on Thursday, this time settling into the driver's seat.

Jenkins said that employees should have followed the advice they give to guests, which is to keep all vehicles locked and to be aware that bears may be in the area.

Officer accidentally shoots self at police firing range

A West Carrollton police officer accidentally shot himself in the leg Friday morning at the Franklin police firing range, authorities said.

>> Read more trending news

The officer, only identified as a veteran of at least 10 years, was at the range for an annual qualification when he shot himself while holstering his weapon, according to West Carrollton Deputy Police Chief David Wessling and Franklin police.

“He’s proficient, but sometimes incidents happen,” Wessling said. “This is an unfortunate event.”

Medics were dispatched to the range in the 200 block of Baxter Drive around 10:50 a.m. The officer was transported to Kettering Medical Center in stable condition and is expected to be OK, officials said.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Man’s body found in wall of women’s restroom after toilet wouldn’t flush

Canadian law enforcement officials have ruled out foul play in the death of a man whose body was found Monday inside the wall of a restroom at a mall in Calgary.

The Calgary Herald reported that the man was found after a worker was called to fix a toilet that wouldn’t flush in a fourth-floor women’s restroom in the Core Shopping Centre food court. The worker removed a panel of the wall and found the body. 

Officials with the Calgary Police Service said that the unnamed man, who was in his 20s, entered the restroom the Friday before he was found. 

“Once inside the washroom, it is believed that he climbed on top of a pony wall which was directly behind the toilets and removed a vent cover, which was located on top of the wall,” police officials said on Facebook. “The pony wall, used to hide utilities, is approximately 7 (feet) tall and is not connected to the ceiling and has no other access points. 

“Based on evidence at the scene, officers believe the victim then climbed inside the pony wall through the vent opening where he became stuck and later died.”

His reason for climbing inside the wall was not known. 

>> Read more trending news

Firefighters helped extricate the man from the wall. An autopsy ruled the man’s death accidental, police officials said. 

The Herald reported that the body was found around 9:30 a.m. Monday. The restroom remained closed until the man was wheeled out, in a body bag, on a gurney.

The food court remained open for most of the day.  

 

Giant inflatable duck named Quacky bounces down street in Iowa

High winds set loose a giant inflatable duck which surprised motorists in Iowa Thursday evening.

>> Read more trending news 

The duck, named Quacky, belongs to the Youth Emergency Shelter and Services in Des Moines, The Associated Press reported. Windy conditions set the inflatable loose, and the duck proceeded to bounce down a 2-block stretch in a Des Moines neighborhood. 

Video captured the unusual scene.

The inflatable duck has been returned to its owners, and is receiving repairs so it will be ready for its appearance at a May 5 fundraiser, the AP reported.

Florida man arrested after shooting over cat hair, police say

A Florida man told his roommate, "The next one's going in you!" after shooting at him following an altercation over cat hair, according to a police report obtained by WFTV

The incident occurred April 26 at a home in Casselberry.

>> Read more trending news 

Craig Allen Tull told the responding officer his roommate, Christopher D. Schaffner, did not clean up after his cat when it left hair all over the couch. He said he ordered Schaffner to leave the house, but he refused, at which point he shoved Schaffner. 

Schaffner told police he was sitting at his computer in the living room when Tull got his gun from his bedroom and pointed it at him, firing a round in his direction but not hitting him. Schaffer also told the officer Tull grabbed his car keys from his belt before jabbing the gun into his rib cage, causing minor bruising.

Crime scene investigators found bullet holes in a wood cabinet that were consistent with the silver Taurus Judge revolver in the home, WFTV reported.

Police arrested Tull, but had to use four sets of handcuffs because he was unable to put his hands behind his back. He faces multiple charges, included aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill.

Schaffner told the officer he and Tull have been roommates for two years since Schaffner's girlfriend died. 

20-year-old bear attack survivor bitten by shark while surfing

Dylan McWilliams loves nature, but nature doesn’t always love him back.

The 20-year-old Grand Junction, Colorado, resident was surfing off the Kauai coastline in Hawaii Thursday morning when he suddenly felt searing pain in his calf. He told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that he looked down to see what appeared to be a tiger shark between 6 and 8 feet long.

“At first, I panicked,” McWilliams told the newspaper. “I didn’t know if I lost half my leg or what.”

The panic gave way to his survival instinct, and he kicked the shark away as hard as he could. He began desperately swimming for shore, which he said was the scariest part of the ordeal.

“I didn’t know where the shark was, and I didn’t know if he would come after me again,” McWilliams said

A woman who heard his cries for help called 911 once he reached shore and took him to an urgent care facility, where seven stitches were used to close the deep gashes in his leg. 

McWilliams, who has worked as a tree trimmer, ranch hand and survival training instructor, shared the gory images on Facebook. Click here to see his post

“First time in the water in Kauai and get tagged by a shark,” he said. 

McWilliams’ friends were shocked by the encounter, in part because it is not the first time in the past year he has been attacked by a wild animal. CBS Denver reported that McWilliams, then 19, was camping at Glacier View Ranch near Boulder in July when he was attacked by a 300-pound black bear. 

“Are you kidding me?” one Facebook friend asked. “Dude, why do you always have animals wanting to eat you?”

>> Read more trending news

McWilliams relived his summer ordeal, which began when the bear grabbed him as he slept, following Thursday’s shark attack. 

“The bear grabbed the back of my head and started pulling me and I was fighting back as best as I could,” McWilliams told Hawaii News Now. “It dropped me and stomped on me a little bit, and I was able to get back to the group and they scared it away.”

McWilliams said he was lucky to have survived not only the bear and the shark, but also to have survived a rattlesnake bite during a 2015 hike in Utah, the Star-Advertiser reported. The bite was a “dry bite,” which only delivered enough venom to make him ill for a couple of days. 

National Geographic reported that the odds of one person being bitten by a shark, a bear and a rattlesnake are 893.35 quadrillion to one. An average American has a one in 11.5 million chance of being bitten by a shark.

A person is more likely to be attacked by a bear, with odds of one in 2.1 million, the magazine reported. 

The odds of being bitten by a poisonous snake in the U.S. are one in 37,500. 

Some commenters on Facebook called McWilliams a “legend” for all he’s survived, while others chastised him for getting in the water when much of the island was under a “brown water advisory,” meaning that bad storms had turned much of the coastal waters brown.

Murky water is known to bring in sharks, who prowl the coastline looking for an easy meal. 

“Can tell he’s not from around here or he would have known that,” one person wrote. 

“I guess no one told you that murky water attracts sharks, huh?” another man wrote. 

“It was actually mostly clear where I was,” McWilliams responded.

“‘Mostly’ is a key word in this situation,” the man wrote back. “But it looks like the island gods were ‘mostly’ looking out for you. Speedy recovery, broheem.”

McWilliams told Hawaii News Now that he does not plan on letting his encounter with the tiger shark keep him down.

“I’m just mad that I can’t get back in the water for a couple days,” he said. 

'U SUCK' appears on I-5 traffic sign in Washington

A training error caused an unusual message to appear Tuesday on a traffic sign on Interstate 5 in Washington, officials with the state Department of Transportation said.

>> Read more trending news

Reddit user Bruceinc posted a photo of the sign, which said "U SUCK," on the social media site Tuesday.

“If I had to take a guess it’s probably a worker messing around while doing maintenance on the sign,” he wrote. “You can see the work trucks to the right of the sign in the photo.”

The message appeared on a traffic sign on I-5 approaching Washington State Route 518 near SeaTac.

After the post caused a flurry of comments on Reddit, WSDOT responded, apologizing for the "inappropriate message." Officials said it was “clearly a mistake” and that they are taking steps to ensure the situation doesn’t happen again.

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