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  • A Lowell, Massachusetts, city councilor plans to call for a citywide ban on pit bulls following the death of a 7-year-old boy. Police told WFXT that the boy was brutally attacked by two dogs of that breed.  >> Watch the news report here Candles and flowers now sit at the place where a little boy was mauled to death Saturday night. While the Middlesex District Attorney handles the investigation, a local lawmaker is calling for a citywide ban on the breed that caused this tragedy. City councilor Rodney Elliott believes this is an issue of public safety. Although he knows banning pit bulls is a controversial issue, he believes that's the necessary measure needed to keep people safe. >> On Boston25News.com: 7-year-old mauled to death by dog in Lowell Elliott believes the city of Lowell is too crowded, and therefore there's no room to safely keep pit bulls.  'I just don't want to see this happen again,' Elliott said.  However, this isn't a new cause for Elliott as he's been calling for a pit bull ban for years. In 2011, following a number of pit bull attacks, he helped spearhead an ordinance to regulate pit bulls and pit bull mixes within the city limits – and it passed.  'We're an urban city. We have 108,000 people living in 13 square miles. You can go to some very densely populated areas in the city and I think that would be appropriate,' Elliott said. 'I don't think the law in the books is effective enough, and I do think the responsibility is on the owner, but if we didn't have pit bulls in the city, this attack would never have happened.' >> On Boston25News.com: Neighborhood mourns 7-year-old boy mauled to death by pit bulls The state then passed its own law prohibiting cities and towns from labeling specific breeds as 'dangerous' and regulating them. Elliott believes it should be up to each community to make that decision. 'At the very least, give us the authority to implement strong measures as we did in the past to hold dog owners accountable,' Elliott says. However, many strongly disagree with Elliott, saying the majority of pit bulls are gentle, loving creatures.  WFXT reporter Stephanie Coueignoux spoke with Mike Keiley, the director of adoption centers for the MSPCA by phone.  Keiley told WFXT that proper training, socialization, and spaying or neutering a dog play a large role in their behavior.  >> On Boston25News.com: Family and friends hold vigil for 7-year-old killed by dogs in Lowell 'These particular dogs are the dangerous animals that we are talking about. There are so many other pit bulls out there that never would be involved in this type of situation,' Keiley said. Elliott said there are 74 registered pit bulls in Lowell, but he says many more are being illegally bred. Overbreeding is a problem that can easily lead to overly aggressive dogs.  Keiley said the issue arises when people who aren't properly trained mate two overly aggressive pit bulls together and can end up breeding an increasingly aggressive generation of dogs.  'I think that's why you're seeing aggressive dogs continuing to be in the community because they're continuing to be allowed to breed and continued to give a bad name to this breed of dog,' Keiley said. >> Read more trending news Keiley said pit bulls are loving and gentle by nature, but lack of training and care can lead to aggressive behavior.  The department of public health said the number of injuries caused by dog bites is a 'pretty rare set of circumstances.'  In 2014, 189 people were hospitalized due to dog bites, which accounts for a total of 0.3 percent of all hospitalizations in Massachusetts for that year.  Elliot said that if Lowell can ban raising chickens because of health concerns, the city should be allowed to ban pit bulls for safety reasons.  'That makes no logical sense to me. There are other animals and species in this city, in this state, in this country so when we feel there is a problem with a particular breed – and there is,' Elliott said. Last year, on Oct 3, a citywide ban on pit bulls went into effect in Montreal following a pit bull attack that killed a woman in Pointe-aux-Trembles, Quebec.  The attack has since been contested by animal rights organizations and pit bull owners who say the ban is senseless and that there was no forewarning regarding the ban.  Elliott plans on raising the issue at a council meeting Tuesday. The MSPCA said Lowell is one of a number of local cities with what they call an overpopulation of pit bulls, so the organization is now offering free spaying and neutering of pit bulls in those communities.  More information regarding their 'Pit Pals' program for spaying and neutering pit bulls and to check if you're eligible to receive those services for free, check out their website here.
  • A 23-year-old man was charged with homicide in the death of an 87-year-old veteran, Seminole County investigators said.    Edward Marrero was brought in for questioning Monday night as a person of interest after Wallace Worman’s body was found inside his home on Norwich Court, authorities said.   ‘I thought they were older,' says Casselberry man who asked teens if… Worman’s friends checked on him every morning, but Monday, they found him dead with obvious signs of trauma, deputies said.   Marrero was booked into the Orange County Jail on an unrelated charge, and was later charged with homicide. He’s being held on 26 charges, including grand theft and burglary, authorities said.   'It's crazy because we've never had anything like this happen in this neighborhood,” said neighbor Tim Nantka.   There was no forced entry into the home, investigators said.   Kimanski said Worman lost his wife about 10 years ago, and that he used to ride his bike with his dog until it died.   '(Worman was) the sweetest, kindest man. I have no idea how this could even happen to a person like that,' neighbor Kim Kimanski said.   Deputies said the last time anyone talked to Worman was Sunday at church.   Loved ones said Worman was a veteran and an active church member.   'Everybody is in shock. We can't comprehend it. I can't comprehend it. Nobody can comprehend it. It's pathetic,' Kimanski said.   For Eric Twachtman, the news of his longtime friend’s death was unimaginable.   “I couldn’t even speak. It was just devastating. Making me cry all over again to think about it,” he said.   Twachtman has known Worman, or Wally, as he called him, for about two decades. They met at Aloma United Methodist Church in Winter Park.   Twachtman said he saw Worman there Sunday morning.   “He was just his normal, you know, friendly self,” he said.   He said Worman retired from a long career in the Air Force, and that Worman ushered Twachtman’s mother’s funeral a few months ago.   “He felt gratitude at being able to be a part of it, which said a lot about him,” Twachtman said.   Twachtman said Sunday morning service won't be the same without the smiling face of his friend Wally.   'To have him not there by the front door, welcoming, saying hi, kidding around. Yeah, it'll be a big hole,” he said.   Records show that Marrero had 13 arrests in Orange County, dating back to 2012.   Court records show that Marrero was out on bail, following an arrest less than two weeks ago.   State records show Marrero also served a year and half in prison, starting in 2015.   The cause of death has not been released.
  • Police escorted children to school Monday and a city bus changed up its usual route as a neighborhood near downtown Tampa feared a serial killer may be on the loose.   In the last two weeks, three people have been shot to death within a 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) radius in the normally quiet Seminole Heights neighborhood. Police believe the shootings are linked by proximity and time frame, but they don't have a motive or a suspect.   All three victims, who didn't know each other, rode the bus and were alone when they were shot on the street. None of the victims were robbed.   'I'm afraid,' said Maria Maldonado, who lives near the scene of two of the shootings that happened about 300 yards apart. The other was less than a mile away.   Maldonado won't let her 7-year-old son play in the yard.   'We don't open the door or nothing. A lot of people are scared. I'm scared for my son, for the neighborhood,' she said.   Seminole Heights is a working-class neighborhood northeast of downtown Tampa that's slowly becoming gentrified. Run-down homes sit next to renovated, historic bungalows, and trendy restaurants have sprung up near auto body shops.   Residents and business owners say there are car burglaries and fights between kids, but they are not accustomed to anything like the violence that started Oct. 9.   Business owners report a downturn in recent days, as worried residents stay inside.   'We don't know what's next,' said Majed Foqahaa, the owner of the M&M market.   He said two of the victims would come into the store and buy soda and snacks. Foqahaa said he has a concealed carry permit for a handgun, and he keeps it at the store while he is working. When he walks out to his car at night, he holds it in his hand.   Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said the city has put dozens of officers in the area around the clock. The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are also helping, he said.   'There aren't a lot of facts, or evidence, yet,' Buckhorn said as he visited a block where one victim was killed. 'But it's not for lack of Tampa Police Department trying. We literally have put bodies out here by the dozens. We're going to find this guy and we're not leaving this neighborhood till we do.'   He was hesitant to use the word serial killer, but Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan wasn't.   'We can call it what we want. If that brings attention to this. . That's fine,' he said.   Police said 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell was the first person killed on Oct. 9. Two days later, 32-year-old Monica Hoffa was killed in a vacant lot. Anthony Naiboa, 20, was shot and killed Oct. 19.   Lula Mae Lewis, an 80-year-old woman who has lived in the area for 30 years, lives across the street from where Hoffa's body was found.   'I heard the shots that Wednesday night,' she said. 'But I was afraid to open my door because they were so loud, it sounded like it was just right here.
  • An Orange County, Florida, teacher is off the job after being accused of throwing scissors inside a classroom Friday, hitting an eighth-grade student. >> Watch the news report here The Westridge Middle School teacher had only been working at the school for a few weeks and was still in a probationary period. >> Read more Floridoh! stories “He took the scissors from the kid, tossed it, and as soon as he tossed it, it ricocheted and hit her. That’s what she told me,” said the student’s mother, Jeymi Olivera. Olivera she found out about the incident when her daughter sent her a Snapchat of the cuts on her face.  She said she's relieved the situation wasn't worse.  >> Read more trending news 'We are all human. We all make mistakes. But what if it was worse and it (hit) her eyeball?' Olivera said.  Michael Lampkin was on a probationary status, which means he had worked at the school for less than 120 days. A district spokesperson said he was terminated Monday. Lampkin denied the allegations. >> WATCH: Mother of student allegedly injured by teacher who threw scissors speaks out
  • Two men were arrested and two juveniles were issued summons after they allegedly disrupted a funeral ceremony with a display of guns and loud music. >> Watch the news report here The incident happened Saturday at a cemetery in Whitehaven, Tennessee. Police were called to the scene by the mother of the deceased person for whom the funeral was being held. She told officers a group of males drove up in several vehicles and began hanging out the window with guns in their hands. The funeral home workers became so fearful that the left the burial ceremony, according to a police report. When officers arrived, they told everyone not attending the service to leave. Several individuals, including Kavon Woods and Gregory Dunlap, began yelling and said they didn’t have to leave, according to the report. Woods allegedly turned up the volume of the music in his car to further disrupt the ceremony. Woods, Dunlap and two juveniles were taken into custody. Police said Woods’ vehicle was blocking others from leaving. It was towed from the scene. Inside, officers found a .45 caliber Glock magazine containing six bullets in the center console, the report stated. >> Read more trending news Officers later learned Dunlap was the driver of another vehicle on the scene. Several funeral goers reported seeing guns placed inside the car before police arrived. After securing permission, police searched the car and found a .45 caliber Glock 36 with a magazine containing 10 bullets, a .40 caliber Glock 23 with one chambered round and an extended clip with 20 rounds, and a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson bullet. The Glock 23 was stolen, according to a check run on the guns. The two juveniles were issued summons and released to their parents. Woods and Dunlap were charged with disorderly conduct. Both have since bonded out of jail.