Cirque du Soleil performer dies after fall at Tampa show

A Cirque du Soleil performer died after his hand slipped off the double rings and he fell 20 feet during a performance in Florida, police and the entertainment company said Sunday.

The theatrical company announced on Twitter that Yann Arnaud fell while performing an aerial straps number Saturday night during the show VOLTA in Tampa.

Tampa police said they were investigating the death of Arnaud, 38, though they said in a release that it appears to be accidental. Arnaud died at a hospital early Sunday. He had been a Cirque du Soleil performer for more than 15 years.

Cirque du Soleil canceled its final two Tampa performances Sunday.

“The entire Cirque du Soleil family is in shock and devastated by this tragedy,” the entertainment group’s President Daniel Lamarre said in a statement. “We are currently gathering more information about this tragic event. We are offering our full and transparent collaboration to the authorities as they look into the circumstances of this accident.”

11 detained in San Antonio for sacrificing animals

Eleven people in San Antonio, Texas were detained after police were called about animal sacrifices.

Neighbors of the house on Bronze San Road told police they saw several people in the garage with knives.

According to a report for News4Jax sister station KSAT, when deputies arrived they saw dead chickens, goats and other animals in the garage, as well as some animal heads.

“There was a lady that appeared to be cutting up meat or some type of animal parts and a person holding up a chicken, draining blood into some type of container,” said Sgt. Elizabeth Gonzalez, with the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office,”

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4 injured when car hits pickup truck on U.S. 17

Three people were ejected when a pickup truck crossing U.S. 17 was struck by a car early Sunday morning north of Green Cove Springs, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The accident report said all three of the occupants of the pickup were taken to Orange Park Medical Center — two in critical condition and one in serious. Troopers said none of the men in the pickup were wearing seat belts and investigators have not established with them driving at the time of the crash.

The driver of the car, Kevin Phillips, 25, of Fleming Island, was heading south on U.S. 17 when it struck the pickup pulling out of Health Road. He was also hospitalized in serious condition.

Troopers said the accident remains under investigation and charges are pending.

Some wanted Parkland shooter committed year before school massacre

Officials were so concerned about the mental stability of the student accused of last month’s Florida school massacre that they decided he should be forcibly committed.

But the recommendation was never acted upon.

A commitment under the law would have made it more difficult if not impossible for Nikolas Cruz to obtain a gun legally.

Cruz is accused of the shooting rampage that killed 14 students and three school employees at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14. In addition, 17 people were wounded.

But more than a year earlier, documents in the criminal case against Nikolas Cruz and obtained by The Associated Press show school officials and a sheriff’s deputy recommended in September 2016 that Cruz be involuntarily committed for a mental evaluation.

The documents, which are part of Cruz’s criminal case in the shooting, show that he had written the word “kill” in a notebook, told a classmate that he wanted to buy a gun and use it, and had cut his arm supposedly in anger because he had broken up with a girlfriend. He also told another student he had drunk gasoline and was throwing up. Calls had even been made to the FBI about the possibility of Cruz using a gun at school.

The documents were provided by a psychological assessment service initiated by Cruz’s mother called Henderson Behavioral Health. The documents show a high school resource officer who was also a sheriff’s deputy and two school counselors recommended in September 2016 that Cruz be committed for mental evaluation under Florida’s Baker Act. That law allows for involuntary commitment for mental health examination for at least three days.

Such an involuntary commitment would also have been a high obstacle if not a complete barrier to legally obtaining a firearm, such as the AR-15 rifle used in the Stoneman Douglas massacre on Feb. 14, authorities say.

There is no evidence Cruz was ever committed. Coincidentally, the school resource officer who recommended that Cruz be “Baker Acted” was Scot Peterson – the same Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy who resigned amid accusations he failed to respond to the shooting by staying outside the building where the killings occurred.

David S. Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor, said that an involuntary commitment would have been a huge red flag had Cruz attempted to buy a firearm legally.

“If he had lied, hopefully the verification of the form would have pulled up the commitment paperwork,” Weinstein said.

The documents do not say why Cruz was not committed under the Baker Act or whether he may not have qualified for other reasons. The law allows a law enforcement officer such as Peterson to initiate commitment under the Baker Act.

An attorney for Peterson did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Sunday.

Cruz, 19, is charged in a 34-count indictment with killing 17 people and wounding 17 others in the attack. He faces the death penalty if convicted, but his public defender Melisa McNeill has said he would plead guilty in return for a life prison sentence.

In the Henderson Behavioral Health documents, Cruz’s mother Lynda is quoted as saying she had fresh concerns about her son’s mental state after he punched holes in a wall at their home in Parkland. The clinicians at Henderson came to the home for interviews and said Cruz admitted punching the wall but said he did so because he was upset at a breakup with his girlfriend.

Cruz also admitted cutting his arm with a pencil sharpener.

After a Sept. 28, 2016 interview, the documents say Cruz “reports that he cut his arms 3-4 weeks ago and states that this is the only time he has ever cut. (Cruz) states that he cut because he was lonely, states that he had broken up with his girlfriend and reports that his grades had fallen. (Cruz) states that he is better now, reports that he is no longer lonely and states that his grades have gone back up.”

He also told the clinician he owned only a pellet gun and was not capable of doing “serious harm” to anyone.

The documents show that Cruz was very much on the radar screen of mental health professionals and the Broward County school system, yet very little appears to have been done other than these evaluations.

Other red flags have also surfaced, including calls to the FBI about Cruz’s potential to become a school shooter and numerous visits by county law enforcement officials to his home – both before his mother died in November and after, when he lived briefly with a family friend in Palm Beach County.

Again, very little was done.

It’s not clear from the documents who the recommendation was forwarded to or why it was not followed up.