News

Iraq War veteran frustrated by VA bureaucracy

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Josh Mitchell served in the U.S. Marine Corps five years and did two tours in Iraq.

"It has been a little stressful trying to find a job and get in to the VA here," said Mitchell. 

Two months ago, he returned home to Jacksonville after making stops in California and Tennessee.

He is a veteran that needs help.

"I gotten blown up once in my first tour and that gave me TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury," he said. 

Mitchell, 27, said he has been trying to get help from the VA here in Jacksonville for his TBI, post traumatic stress disorder and physical injury.

"I just kind of gave up the last couple of weeks," he said. 

Mitchell said he used the VA service while in California and that was great, but that hasn't been his experience here at home.

He said just trying to get an appointment to evaluate his needs has been difficult.

JSO investigating SunTrust Bank robbery

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is investigating a robbery at a SunTrust in Mandarin.

According to JSO Lt. Brian Richardson, a white male in his 40s-50s wearing dark pants, eye glasses and a baseball cap entered the bank at 11567 San Jose Boulevard and told the clerk he was robbing the bank.

The clerk gave the man an undisclosed amount of money and the man left the bank, fleeing on foot.

Richardson said the man did not display a weapon, but would not say whether the man had one on his person.

JSO was able to obtain a picture of the man and will share it as soon as it becomes available.

Man in stable condition after being hit in Mandarin

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A man is in stable condition after being hit by a SUV while crossing San Jose Boulevard at an area with no crosswalk.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the 35-year-old man's injuries were initially believed to be life-threatening, but he has since been upgraded to stable.

The driver of the SUV stayed at the scene after the man was hit. Charges are not expected to be filed.

'It looks like a moat' -- but it should be a ditch

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Miruelo Drainage project promises improvement, but now that it is near completion, the project is creating a storm of controversy.

"When we moved here in 1983 we had a little bit of a slope," said Betty Berrey.

Butch and Betty Berrey live at the corner of Manata Street and Miruelo Circle and noticed that the ditch in front of their property kept getting wider and deeper.

"It looks like a moat," said Betty.

The project is a combination of buried pipes and open ditches.

"This is not what I thought it would be," said Betty. "My daughter said lets fill it with water and and some alligators."

Adding to their frustration is the project required more of their front yard, and it removed whatever parking space there was on the shoulder of the street.

"It is really frustrating. If we have guests, everybody will have to park in the backyard I guess," said Betty.

Bosnian family thankful to be in America

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- We first met Rijad Kobiljar during one of our Athlete of The Week segments.

He's a hardworking, soccer standout at Mandarin High School. 

And it was a response he gave Chad Cushnir during the story that stood out: 

"My parents are everything to me," he said in the story that aired a couple weeks back. "They came here for me."

They came to America from Bosnia in 2001. It was a country in conflict and ravaged by the war of the early to mid 90s. 

They came here for an opportunity.

"Freedom," Rijad said Thursday while eating Thanksgiving lunch. "We came here to live a better life."

It's now his family's 12th Thanksgiving here. 

Rijad's father Muzafer made the sacrifice to bring his family here.

Pedestrian hit in Mandarin

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Police are responding to a pedestrian hit in Mandarin.

The victim was struck by a car on Old St. Augustine Road at West Princess Labeth Court, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

First Coast news has a crew heading to the scene and will update as we learn more.

New numbers show crime is down in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- New numbers from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show crime is going down in Duval County.

The Uniform Crime Report looked at crime in the first 6 months of 2013, and compared to the first 6 months of 2012.

In Jacksonville, the report showed a 15 percent decrease in murders, and a little more than a 6 percent decrease in aggravated assaults. 

Overall, violent crimes are down 1 percent. The number of rape victims are up, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said that's in part because of a re-classification.

Business owners in Jacksonville are hoping the general downward trend in crime could change the way some think about the city when it comes to crime.

"Every little bit helps," said Pat Middleton. He's been selling houses in Jacksonville for more than 30 years.

Middleton said his clients ask him about being safe in Jacksonville.