When it comes to compassion, the Keys are the best

Residents of the Keys are no stranger to giving.

Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s going on in the county.

The Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm received a donation recently, for which they are grateful.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “The Sheriff’s Office is always looking for people to help donate, sponsor and keep the farm up.”

The farm received a new mobile surgical trailer, so work can be done right there at the farm. A surgical light was also donated.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This is going to really help us do a lot for all these animals we take care of and we’re going to try to open up this mobile trailer to our other friends who deal with animals. This is one of the most charitable communities that always steps forward to help out in whatever may be, persons or animals in need or distressed, we always see our citizens stepping up and saying, just tell me what you need. That’s what makes this community so special.”

The Toys for Conch Kids Motorcycle Ride was this past Sunday.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We had Sheriff’s deputies out to make sure those events are safe and secure. This community continues to help aid, assist, give back, be part of the solution. One of the friendliest communities. This Saturday is the Key West Christmas Parade. You’re going to see the Sheriff’s Office actively involved in that. I, myself, will be leading that parade for the Sheriff’s Office, walking the entire route. This is the time of year to go out and help others who are less fortunate.”

A 42-year-old Arkansas man was arrested yesterday for attempting to steal a food truck.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This was a taco truck. It happened in the afternoon. We’re thankful that we got a call from some good Samaritans who saw something that looked suspicious, unusual. Thought he may have been trying to steal it. He didn’t seem familiar with the truck. He was trying to break in and trying to drive it away.”

The Sheriff’s Department has a response time of about two minutes, so they were on the scene quickly, and arrived as the man was trying to maneuver the truck out of the parking lot.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We determined that he was attempting to steal it. He told us that the owner owed him some money and didn’t pay him, so he was taking the truck in payment. He tried to do a civil matter on his own. Subsequent to arresting him for grand theft charges, we did find also drugs and drug paraphernalia on his person. We always thank our listeners for seeing something and calling us and alerting us early so we can take action before something gets out of control.”

Two water related deaths were reported on Thursday.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “The one off of Islamorada was about 100 yards out. A male was found floating deceased with no ID. We later determined that we believed he was a migrant who was attempting to come to the United States and had drowned on his trip over. A sad, sad case. Now our efforts are to try to identify family in a foreign country and make notifications, which is challenging.”

A woman in her early 50s had a medical emergency while she was snorkeling in Sombrero Reef.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “Subsequently had to get rushed to shore, unconscious. Later on did pass away. Our friends at the medical examiner are going to have to determine what the medical emergency was that triggered the drowning. Both are sad, sad cases.”

Migrant landings happen almost every day in the Keys.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We’re seeing more and more that come from Haiti. Last week we did have a Haitian sail freighter with about 200 that came into Islamorada. Right now we are monitoring another vessel with a large group of migrants that was a sail freighter.”

When the Coast Guard was called out, the sail freight turned and went back into Bahamian waters.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “Where it’s final destination is going to land, we don’t know. The spigot is open and there’s no effort to close the spigot when it comes to migration. The Coast Guard doesn’t want to get into a fight with 150 Haitians on a rickety boat which is top heavy as it is. The one that came to Islamorada had 185 people, it was 50-feet long, top heavy. We’re worried about people drowning, a lot of Haitians can’t swim. The waters are rough, so the government’s always worried about the potential loss of life or someone getting hurt either on US vessels or foreign vessels. So a lot of times if they can’t get voluntary compliance, they almost seem to just follow them into shore and let them make landfall.”

Once they make landfall, the Border Patrol and state, local and federal officers get involved.

A 56-year-old homeless Marathon man was arrested for attempted arson and assault last week after attempting to set fire to tents.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “Alcohol was involved. This male got into a fight with several other homeless individuals who were living in tents. At some point in time, he starts pouring a liquid on the tents, yelling that it was gasoline. He was going to set their tents on fire. Later on we determined it was actually water. He actually went to one tent with a disinfectant that was flammable and sprayed and filled the tent up with the flammable liquid and then tried to set it on fire with a lighter, which did not ignite, thank God. He battered two of the homeless people there.”

He was arrested for attempted arson, battery, disorderly conduct and other charges.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This was a homeless on homeless event, which is not uncommon. The homeless are out there in close quarters, alcohol and drugs involved many times, sometimes mental illness. So homeless on homeless violence unfortunately is not uncommon here or anywhere else.”

The Sheriff’s Office is helping the western part of Florida with cleanup after Hurricane Ian.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “Some of our dive team will be there about two weeks with our dive team vehicle, with a dive team patrol boat. We’re going to have divers there for two weeks, diving rivers and creeks and canals and other areas looking for cars, boats that are navigational hazards, looking for people who may be deceased. It’s a very difficult, challenging job. Visibility will be almost zero. We’ve got a pretty impressive dive team and we’re going to be trying to do our part to help one of our neighboring counties.”