A man was shot in the torso early this morning. The incident took place in the Boca Trails subdivision, apparently at 22793 Tradewind Road just south of Judge Winikoff.
Update: PBSO tells us the victim is an adult black male.
We received notice of the incident almost immediately from a reader:
Someone was shot at that house (Tradewind Road). Don’t know all the details. 4-6 shots fired shortly after 2am. Ambulance removed 1 person about 10 minutes after the shots were fired.
The Sheriff’s office sent an e-mail this morning confirming it:
Time: 1:54 am
Detectives are investigating a shooting in the 22700 block of Tradewinds Road, unincorporated Boca Raton. A male was shot in the torso area by unknown shooter. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment. His condition is unknown.
No suspect information of known motive at this time. Detectives from the Violent Crimes Division are investigating further.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS.
The location is just north of the west end of the Watergate Estates trailer park. We have noticed a lot of arrests and reports of criminal activity in that section, but we see nothing indicating this incident is related to that.
The property where it happened was purchased in August of 2015 by a woman named Amanda Francois. This may be the same Amanda Francois whose father was murdered in 2014 in Miami, but we have not been able to confirm the connection.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office issued a press release regarding the arrest of a Sandalfoot woman from a fatal crash that occurred on Loxahatchee Road in Parkland back in May:
Broward Sheriff’s Office traffic homicide investigators have arrested a Boca Raton woman who killed her passenger in a single-vehicle crash on Mother’s Day in Parkland.
Laura Haggerty, 47, was taken into custody Sept. 30 with the help of the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office. She faces two DUI/Manslaughter charges and one charge of vehicular homicide.
Around 4 p.m. May 8, Kelly Rider, 35, was a passenger in a Ford Explorer that was heading eastbound on Loxahatchee Road. Laura Haggerty was behind the wheel. Haggerty lost control of the vehicle near the 12200 block when her SUV drifted off the road. Haggerty overcorrected, causing the vehicle to veer across the roadway and collide with the guardrail on the north side of the street. The SUV then began to spin in a counterclockwise motion, before rolling over.
Rider, who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, was ejected. Coral Springs Fire Department pronounced him dead at the scene. BSO Air Rescue transported Haggerty to Broward Health North.
According to BSO detectives, she was speeding and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.25.
The BSO report indicates that both Haggery and Rider lived at the same address on Sailfish Road in Watergate Estates, just north of the west stretch of Sandalfoot Blvd.
The Palm Beach Sheriff announced today that they have arrested Gary Pierre (aka Garry Pierre) for the murder of Christo “Sto” Maccius.
We previously reported that Maccius, a West Boca High teacher and alumnus, was shot and killed in Sandalfoot Square.
Pierre has a lengthy criminal history in both Palm Beach and Broward including three felony arrests in Palm Beach. In 2012 he was arrested for robbery with a weapon. That charge was dropped by prosecutors. In 2007 and 2009 he faced felony drug charges. Broward courts show multiple drug felonies along with a grand theft charge. Those are just the felonies. He has also had several misdemeanor cases, criminal traffic cases and traffic violations.
The most recent address we see for Pierre is in Coral Springs. We have seen other addresses for him in North Broward as well as in Sandalfoot Cove near Boca Dunes.
Multiple sources and our own research tell us that the shooting victim from this morning was Christo Maccius (25), a West Boca High graduate. Three sources told us that he worked at the school, with one providing more detail:
He was a substitute and shadow for children with special needs.
The shooting happened in or near the Sandalfoot Square plaza and O’Connor’s Pub. The Palm Beach Post has ongoing updates on the story, including resident concerns about high crime and a report that the shooter had a long-standing grudge against Maccius.
Last year we reported on another shooting at or near the same location.
All photos are from Facebook messages, comments, or pages.
From what we can see on Facebook and other sources Maccius had many friends in the community, and will be missed.
We reached out to both PBSO and the school for more information but so far have not received any response. As of this moment we believe the shooter has not been caught. We do not have any identity yet either. Warning: The photo below may be disturbing to some readers. Do not scroll down if you are sensitive to such things.
And please note that many of the negative comments posted on this article (below) appear to be “trolling.” Some have been deleted and/or blocked from future comments.
Donald Trump’s main holding company, The Trump Organization, LLC, announced yesterday that it will open the Trump Sandalfoot Golf Resort and Casino in West Boca. The company has purchased all the properties in West Sandalfoot, aka Watergate Estates.
The area comprises approximately 150 acres of land. The golf course is expected to take up 100 acres with a hotel and casino to occupy the remaining 50 acres.
Often Trump pays substantial sums for existing resorts, such as the $150M he paid for Doral, and then improves them. In this case he was able to acquire the various properties for significantly less, reportedly $150.
Also, Trump developments often face significant hurdles from local government, as he did in Mar-a-Lago. But with Sandalfoot it appears Palm Beach County is letting him do whatever he wants. West Boca’s county commissioner, Mary Lou Berger, said it was an easy call: “We did a survey and 85% of area residents preferred a landfill to the existing use. So a golf club is huge!”
The biggest hurdle Trump faced was a hold-out resident who did not want to sell. But he was able to win the man over after a conversation.
“I’m a great negotiator,” Trump said, “but in this case it was easy. We saw eye to eye on a lot of issues, especially social issues. So we found a way to include him on our team in a role that fits what we do. It’ll be great. I promise you. Believe me.”
Trump Sandalfoot is expected to open a year from now, on April 1, 2017. A rumored expansion into Palmetto Pines was nixed by Trump. “It doesn’t have the same cachet.”
For our weekly inspection report we noticed something unusual. There were a lot of inspections in the Polo Club Shoppes plaza (Military Trail north of Clint Moore).
The worst of the bunch was Wok Out, a small Chinese take-out place on the north end of the plaza, next to Brendy’s. Wok Out had 20 violations with 3 marked high priority:
Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food cold held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit. … REACH IN COOLER… (Wok Line Cold Table) cooked chicken pieces 67° cooked shrimp 45° sliced bbq pork 45° raw pork sausage 46° raw shrimp 47° (Undercounter) bbq Shrimp 53° AMBIENT TEMPERATURE 50° … WALK IN COOLER … cooked ribs 46° cooked egg rolls 46° raw chicken pieces 47° raw shrimp 47° (cut fresh vegetables – greens, broccoli, onions, celery, green peppers – all 46°) AMBIENT TEMPERATURE 44° … COOK LINE PREP TABLE (To Left of cold Table) sprouts 68° broccoli florets 68° cut cabbage 68° – Being held at Room Temperature. **Warning**
Small plastic containers of white rice stored in the bulk cooked white rice being held for service in the rice cooker. See stop sale. **Repeat Violation** **Warning**
Vacuum breaker missing at hose bibb or on fitting/splitter added to hose bibb. … On mop sink. **Warning**
In the world of restaurant inspections this really isn’t too bad. It’s a good sign for all restaurants that this was the worst number of the week. Wok Out had a follow-up the next day that was perfect. Their three previous inspections were all pretty good so we wouldn’t let this bother us if we were customers there.
Second worst in the plaza goes to DD Flats with 19 violations and also 3 high priority:
Employee handled soiled dishes or utensils and then handled clean dishes or utensils without washing hands. … Dishmachine operator.
No proof of parasite destruction or aquaculture documentation for cold smoked salmon served raw or undercooked. Fish must be fully cooked or discarded. **Reapeat Violation** **Repeat Violation**
Raw animal food stored over ready-to-eat food. In walk in cooler, raw shell eggs directly above in-use bottles of iced tea, cheeses, and breads. **Repeat Violation**
They’ve had both good and not-so-good inspections in the past. Most were good, but a year ago they had 17 violations including 4 high priority.
Other Polo Club Shoppes inspections were:
TooJay’s (12 violations)
La Luna and Manhattan Joe’s Pizzeria (9 violations each)
Subway (5 on 8/18, 3 on follow-up 8/20)
Bangkok Thai (4)
Josef’s Table (2)
Voodoo BBQ had one of the best inspections this week with just one violation involving a missing backflow protector on a mop sink. We’ll call that near perfect. Delray Beach
The worst of Delray this week isn’t too bad, but Panda Gourmet had 12 violations. Ruven’s had 11, an improvement from the 34 they had back in our May report, but still not great.
On the bright side, Brooklyn Water Bagel in Delray (Military Trail) had a perfect inspection. Rest of West Boca
Pei Wei on Beracasa got hit with 14 violations. With 6 high priority, a live roach and a stop-sale order this is the worst overall of the week, and certainly the funniest:
Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food, Cooked shrimp 64°, cut tomatoes 63°, cooked chicken 63°, wontons 60°, chicken salad rolls 63°, sushi rolls 65°, spring rolls 52°, won tons 63°. cold held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit, reach in cooler on cookline, west side. Stop Sale Issued. Reach in cooler on east side of cookline-raw chicken 45°, raw beef 44°, raw shrimp 45°, cooked chicken 44°. Corrective Action taken, employee iced down. **Warning**
Raw animal foods not properly separated from one another based upon minimum required cooking temperature in reach-in cooler, raw chicken over raw beef, east side of reach in cooler. **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
Raw animal foods not properly separated from one another based upon minimum required cooking temperature in walk-in cooler, raw chicken over raw pok in walk in cooler. **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
Roach activity present as evidenced by live roaches found, 1 live roach under prep table in kitchen. Manager killed. **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
Stop Sale issued on potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food due to temperature abuse. **Warning**
Tracking powder pesticide used inside establishment, under booths in dining room where paper goods are stored. **Warning**
That’s one tough inspector.
There were good inspections for the Taco Bell in Sandalfoot Plaza (3 minor violations) and the Smokey Bones BBQ near Target (3 violations). China Wok in Sandalfoot had 8 violations. East Boca
The week’s winner was Tomasso’s Pizza with a perfect inspection. We’ve been there a few times and always liked it. It’s on the north side of Palmetto Park just east of I-95.
China One in the plaza behind had 12 violations. Taco Bell did well with three minor violations. Broward
There were a few inspections south of the border. Most notable was a licensing inspection for the new VIP Grill in the plaza just west of BJ’s Wholesale Club.
Our spreadsheet for this week’s report is below:
One of our regular readers connected us with a budding star who happens to live in West Boca. Christine Allocca appears in tonight’s episode of HBO’s Ballers (10:30 pm) and next week’s episode (10 pm) as well.
She moved here from Los Angeles two years ago to be closer to her family, including a sister who lives in West Boca and her mom in Coconut Creek. Allocca is happy to be living here. Life in LA was hectic and not family friendly for her 3-year-old twin girls.
In and near West Boca she enjoys a variety of things that are close and good for her kids. The first place she mentioned was the We Rock The Spectrum gym for kids. She loves the area parks including Daggerwing, the playgrounds in South County Regional Park and in Sandalfoot Park as well, and Sugar Sands Park on Military Trail.
We were surprised to hear her say she likes our beaches better. The water on our beaches is much warmer and more pleasant. We were in LA in June and it was in the 60s on the beach, so that makes sense. Allocca specifically mentioned Bathtub Reef Beach in Stuart.
That conversation triggered us to mention the dog beach in Juno Beach Jupiter. She hadn’t heard of it and thinks one of her three rescue dogs might enjoy it.
We asked her a bit about her career, which she knew was her goal at age 5: “Grandma I want to be an actress.” At age 21 she was in New York State, working at a bank while in college and she decided it was time to take her shot, so she moved to Los Angeles. Before Ballers one of her biggest career highlights was an appearance on the TV show Modern Family.
She has found work here in South Florida, including television, commercial and print. Ballers shoots in Miami. Cindy Schirmer of Stellar Talent in Miami is her agent and Lori Wyman Casting (also in Miami) helped her get on Ballers.
A few years ago she went a little outside her typical work as an actress and started making YouTube videos with a friend, Erika Schaefer. They’re pretty funny. The most popular one is below.
About a week ago two readers said they heard there was a shooting at “Tricky Dick’s” in the Sandalfoot Square plaza. We didn’t have any verification initially so we didn’t report it.
We were able to get an answer from the Sheriff’s office:
On June 19, 2015, at 1:20 am, a patron inside of the bar was attacked by two unknown males. Several other patrons intervened and a fight carried over into the parking lot where the unknown males fled in a dark colored sedan.
About ten minutes later the two males returned and fired multiple gunshots at the business. A single projectile penetrated a business window and struck a female in the right ankle.
She was subsequently transported to West Boca Hospital by PBC FR (Palm Beach County Fire Rescue) to West Boca Hospital to be treated for her injury. A parked vehicle also suffered damage to its rear window. This case remains open.
A couple of things to note here. First, we’re not sure but we think the bar’s name may have changed from Tricky Dick’s to O’Connor’s Irish Pub. That’s what shows up on Google Maps for the address in question.
Second, the fact that the victim was transported to West Boca Medical Center rather than the Delray Trauma Center indicates the injury was not life threatening.
We will update this story if we get further information.
Yesterday on our Facebook page we posted a link to a well-written article in the Sun-Sentinel about the Joanne Luu not guilty verdict. This comes from a fatal accident at 441 and Sandalfoot Blvd. Our Facebook post received a lot of “engagement” from readers, with 15 shares and a total of 68 comments (including on the shared posts). Most of the comments were angry.
This was a horrible accident. The families and friends of the victims are understandably upset, and like anyone else who reads about this, we are deeply sympathetic to their suffering. But I’ve been a trial lawyer for 20 years now and have handled many DUI cases. In my continuing quest for unpopularity, I have to say what our readers apparently don’t want to hear: The jury got it right.
Over a year ago we explained the Angela Stracar decision, a similar case. Both Stracar and Luu were accused of causing an accident that killed people, of being impaired by drugs, and of driving recklessly. Stracar was convicted at trial after an accident in front of Boca Isles (on Cain Blvd.). Her conviction was reversed on appeal and the charges were dismissed.
Here’s some key language from the Sun-Sentinel article:
Sheriff’s … toxicologist … Yeatman testified the blood sample showed traces of a chemical produced by the metabolization of cocaine. But there was no actual cocaine detected in Luu’s blood, and Yeatman said on cross-examination that the chemical alone would not have caused her to be impaired behind the wheel.
The DUI homicide charge she faced applies when someone is impaired by drugs. You would have to have such a drug in your system in order for it to impair you. There was no cocaine in Luu’s blood.
This doesn’t mean that Luu is a good person, or that the victims deserved to die. It just means Luu was not driving under the influence of drugs. She is genuinely innocent of the DUI charge.
What was found in her system was a metabolite. When you take a drug (legal or illegal), your body processes (or metabolizes) it. The results of that process are metabolites. The most common metabolite of cocaine is benzoylecgonine. You can read about how cocaine is metabolized in a scientific journal.
Our best guess is that the drug test showed benzoylecgonine. It only showed “traces” of it according to the article. Usually “trace” in a blood test means an amount that is so low as to be almost undetectable. That means if Luu had used cocaine it would have been long before the accident.
The prosecutor argued that Luu’s “behavior is completely abnormal because she’s crashing from cocaine use.” To be polite, that’s a creative theory. The statute requires that someone be impaired by drugs, not by the absence of drugs. You wouldn’t have to take this argument much further to argue that an alcoholic or addict who is clean at the time of an accident is impaired by the cravings from their addiction.
Warren Redlich is the author of
Fair DUI: Stay Safe & Sane in a World Gone MADD
Even if she had actual cocaine in her system it would be tough for prosecutors to prove guilt. As the NHTSA puts it:
The presence of cocaine at a given blood concentration cannot usually be associated with a degree of impairment or a specific effect for a given individual without additional information.
The very notion that cocaine impairs driving is itself dubious:
Single low doses of cocaine may improve mental and motor performance in persons who are fatigued or sleep deprived, however, cocaine does not necessarily enhance the performance of otherwise normal individuals. Cocaine may enhance performance of simple tasks but not complex, divided-attention tasks such as driving. Most laboratory studies have been limited by the low single doses of cocaine administered to subjects. At these low doses, most studies showed performance enhancement in attentional abilities but no effect on cognitive abilities. Significant deleterious effects are expected after higher doses, chronic ingestion, and during the crash or withdrawal phase.
Indeed another NHTSA study (pdf) showed little if any evidence that illegal drugs such as cocaine and marijuana increase the risk of driving:
[A]nalyses incorporating adjustments for age, gender, ethnicity, and alcohol concentration level did not show a significant increase in levels of crash risk associated with the presence of drugs.
That’s in stark contrast to the findings about alcohol:
Findings from this study indicate that crash risk grows exponentially with increasing BrAC. The study shows that at low levels of alcohol (e.g., 0.03 BrAC) the risk of crashing is increased by 20 per- cent, at moderate alcohol levels (0.05 BrAC) risk increases to double that of sober drivers, and at a higher level (0.10 BrAC) the risk increases to five and a half times.
If you believe this government science, just one or two drinks significantly impairs driving and is far more dangerous for a driver than any amount of cocaine or marijuana.
The comments on our Facebook post clearly misunderstand what happened. For example, one commenter wrote: “She had a great attorney. The payoff worked well. I mean he “worked” well. That’s all folks. So sad for the family.”
Ms. Luu was represented by the public defender’s office. There was no payoff. While many people have a negative view of public defenders, we have some very good ones in Palm Beach County. They did a great job in this case, and in the Stracar case as well.
Another commenter wrote:
It is called the criminal justice system because the criminals are the only ones to receive any justice, the victims sure don’t and it is not called the victim justice system.
This comment has both truth and error in it. The commenter is correct that the system is generally not about victims. We already have civil courts for that where victims can sue the people who hurt them. One of the harder parts about this case is that the Luu vehicle may have had very limited insurance, leaving little money to compensate the families of the victims.
In some cases the system does work to get some kind of compensation for victims. There is an entirely different approach to crimes called restorative justice that focuses more on victims, but it’s not widely used and is probably not what the bloodthirsty commenters want.
The commenter is completely wrong if he believes that the system is favorable to people accused of crimes. In my experience the deck is stacked against defendants, including innocent ones. With that said it does seem like the prosecutors in South Florida drop a lot of cases involving real crime.
Another commenter wrote: “Sloppy police work and lousy prosecutors.”
There was no sloppy police work here. The police did what they’re trained to do and they did their jobs well. The only thing the prosecutors did wrong was continue to pursue a case without evidence of guilt.
“The fact that two people died meant nothing to this case??”
No it did mean something. The case was prosecuted at the very serious level of a DUI homicide rather than as a lesser DUI or reckless driving case. Had there been no death there’s a good chance the case would not have been prosecuted at all. When there is public outrage over an incident like this, some prosecutors will go ahead with a prosecution to satisfy the public’s blood lust.
“It’s a sad day when all the evidence is present and a criminal is set free. The judge should be incarcerated.”
I’m at a loss to understand why this commenter blames the judge. A jury found Luu not guilty. If anything the judge should have dismissed the case without letting it get to the jury at all.
One of our regular readers posted this: This is her picture. I think it’s obvious how she was acquitted and it wasn’t lack of evidence.
Another reader suggested that the male jurors didn’t want to convict her. This is nonsense. If you take a look at the comments in total, you’ll see that the overwhelming majority think she’s guilty. The jury pool consists of people with similar attitudes. But when they get into a courtroom and have the law and the facts explained to them, they take their responsibility seriously and in this case they got it right.
One last thing deserves mention. The victims were not wearing their seatbelts. Some, including the county medical examiner, assert that they would have died even if they had been wearing them. That’s an irresponsible thing to say. Seatbelts save lives. Dr. Bell may be a competent physician, but he’s not a biomechanical engineer and so he’s not qualified to make such a statement.
In response to an additional comment, which assumed that Luu ran a red light, we don’t know that.
“During her closing argument, Arco (the prosecutor) acknowledged it was unclear whether Liborio Ferrarella turned on a green arrow or a red arrow.”
Fault in the accident is irrelevant to a DUI homicide charge. If you’re impaired by a drug or alcohol, you’re on the hook in Florida even if it’s the other driver’s fault.
A reader reports to us this morning that there’s a new gas station in West Boca that’s offering better prices:
Just FYI the gas station at Kimberly and Hampton is 2.59. It’s a hidden secret. The new sign wasn’t working I will get a better photo later. It’s also Marathon now. 20 cents cheaper then Chevron.
We have had a tool on our website, through MapQuest, that shows gas prices in West Boca. And there is also an app called Gas Buddy that shows gas prices to users on mobile devices.
We checked out what we could find both on our page and through Gas Buddy, which seems to be more popular and updated more frequently by users. From what we could see the “new” gas station is not a particularly good deal. Gas Buddy shows that station’s price as higher than what our reader reported, and the nearby Chevron as less expensive. But of course those apps can be inaccurate.
We’ve always felt that the Cumberland Farms at Sandalfoot and 441 has the best prices in West Boca, and it looks like that’s still true. We hear complaints all the time about bums or troublemakers hanging around that gas station but we’ve never noticed any issues.