Sarasota County played a pivotal role in 9/11 - WNCN: News, Weather

Sarasota County played a pivotal role in 9/11

Posted: Updated:
Image courtesy Google Maps Image courtesy Google Maps
SARASOTA COUNTY, FL -

On the twelfth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, many of us have probably spent a moment reflecting on where we were that day.

And Sarasota county played a pivotal role in that moment in history.

Across Sarasota look up, and you can see flags at half staff, bestowing honor to those lost on this tragic anniversary.

But if you look back, this county was host to key moments on that horrific day.

While history unfolded on television, President Bush arrived at Emma E. Booker elementary in Sarasota. Colonel Steve Burns was there. He was a Sheriff's lieutenant providing security and he couldn't help but notice the busyness of the white house press corps.

Burns said, "As they were disembarking form the vans I could hear them chattering all on their cell phones, you could tell they were kind of excited, there were mentions a plane had hit the World Trade Center."

He said, "Myself and a Secret Service supervisor were just mining that it was obviously a private, small aircraft. Probably somebody had a medical malady crash into the building and that's a shame, but it wasn't a real big thing."

Once the truth came out and everything changed.

"It became pretty chaotic there for a little while."

After President Bush gave a speech and left, Burns was assigned to protect the Secretary of Education. Burns said the Secretary was included in the presidential line of succession and had secret service detail. So they went to a nearby airport and had to remain there for a while since everything was on lock down.

Burns said, "The [president's] itinerary was known at least for several days prior to his visit to Sarasota, so it was a real concern that maybe there was additional targets, even being the school or something."

But before that day, the terrorists had spent time in Sarasota County.

Mohammed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi were two of the small group of terrorists who hijacked planes on that fateful day. Atta and Al-Shehhi spent time in Venice in South Sarasota County.

There they learned to fly planes at Huffman Aviation.

Shortly after the attacks, Huffman Aviation owner Rudi Dekkers said, "I heard what happened and the first thing I questioned myself was, if I would've known, I would've killed them with my own bare hands."

He also said, "These two gentlemen's case. I can't call them gentlemen. In these two animals' cases, they apparently were pilots, good pilots because they conducted the training, did the training and passed the license."

And according to recently released FBI documents, a wealthy Middle Eastern family mysteriously fled the Venice area shortly before the attacks.

The FBI claims the family had no ties to the 9-11 terrorists, but the investigative website, browardbulldog.org believes otherwise, and has filed a federal lawsuit pushing for more information.

Burns said in the days following the attack, his office got numerous calls about the terrorists spending time in the area.

Colonel Burns said, "It just makes you realize to never say that can never happen here. Because that certainly we were part of American history."

A part of history that forever changed this country.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Are background checks enough for Florida teachers?

    Are background checks enough for Florida teachers?

    Friday, April 18 2014 7:41 PM EDT2014-04-18 23:41:35 GMT

    In an effort to weed out potential perverts, Florida law requires fingerprinting and criminal background checks before school districts hire employees that will have any contact with children.

    In an effort to weed out potential perverts, Florida law requires fingerprinting and criminal background checks before school districts hire employees that will have any contact with children.


  • Pasco mix-up sends registration notices to wrong drivers

    Pasco mix-up sends registration notices to wrong drivers

    Friday, April 18 2014 6:02 PM EDT2014-04-18 22:02:51 GMT
    The vehicle registration information of hundreds of drivers in Pasco County were sent to the wrong person in a mix-up that led to the firing of a contractor.
    The vehicle registration information of hundreds of drivers in Pasco County were sent to the wrong person in a mix-up that led to the firing of a contractor.
  • Flushable wipes, not so flushable says Tampa's wastewater officials

    Flushable wipes, not so flushable says Tampa's wastewater officials

    Friday, April 18 2014 3:52 PM EDT2014-04-18 19:52:20 GMT
    Personal wipes, baby wipes, face wipes, flushable wipes. They are all designed to help us deal with delicate issues. But the wipes themselves are actually pretty sturdy and increasingly local water systems are finding they are creating costly problems.
    Personal wipes, baby wipes, face wipes, flushable wipes. They are all designed to help us deal with delicate issues. But the wipes themselves are actually pretty sturdy and increasingly local water systems are finding they are creating costly problems.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Truck flips into Keystone Road pond, one injured

    Truck flips into Keystone Road pond, one injured

    Sunday, April 20 2014 1:15 AM EDT2014-04-20 05:15:13 GMT
    A man was injuredSaturday night when he lost control ofa pickup truck and ended up in a pond on Keystone Road.Thedriver of a Ford F-150 pickuptruck was traveling west on Keystone Roadshortly after 7:30 p.m. when he lost control of the vehicle in a bend in the road, the Florida HighwayPatrol said.Thetruckspun out, went airborne and flipped twice before itcame to rest partially submerged in the pond.Pinellas County firefighters had to cut awaytheroof of the truck to freethe driver, who wasalone...
    A man was injuredSaturday night when he lost control ofa pickup truck and ended up in a pond on Keystone Road.Thedriver of a Ford F-150 pickuptruck was traveling west on Keystone Roadshortly after 7:30 p.m. when he lost control of the vehicle in a bend in the road, the Florida HighwayPatrol said.Thetruckspun out, went airborne and flipped twice before itcame to rest partially submerged in the pond.Pinellas County firefighters had to cut awaytheroof of the truck to freethe driver, who wasalone...
  • 13th body pulled from snow in Everest avalanche

    13th body pulled from snow in Everest avalanche

    Sunday, April 20 2014 1:02 AM EDT2014-04-20 05:02:13 GMT
    Rescuers were digging through piles of snow and ice Saturday for four Sherpa guides buried on Mount Everest when an avalanche swept down the slopes and killed 12 other Nepalese guides in the deadliest disaster on...
    Nepal's authorities temporarily halted climbing on Mount Everest while search teams dug through snow and ice Sunday for three Sherpa guides missing in the deadliest avalanche on the world's highest peak that killed...
  • Neighbors say fatal car-in-house accident sound like explosion

    Neighbors say fatal car-in-house accident sound like explosion

    Sunday, April 20 2014 12:58 AM EDT2014-04-20 04:58:26 GMT
    The friends and family of Eleanor Balldidn't expect to have to say goodbye. But that is what they did Saturday after Ball waskilled when a car slammed into her bedroom.“It sounded like a grenade, boom, boom,” said Tyran Young, who saw the car speed past him and then heard the collision in the 3000 block of Maple in Sarasota at 3:30 a.m.Saturday.Police saidthe driver, Jakeilah Weeks of Tampa, drove away in her car after she was caught breaking into her ex-boyfriend’s home just a few blocks awa...
    The friends and family of Eleanor Balldidn't expect to have to say goodbye. But that is what they did Saturday after Ball waskilled when a car slammed into her bedroom.“It sounded like a grenade, boom, boom,” said Tyran Young, who saw the car speed past him and then heard the collision in the 3000 block of Maple in Sarasota at 3:30 a.m.Saturday.Police saidthe driver, Jakeilah Weeks of Tampa, drove away in her car after she was caught breaking into her ex-boyfriend’s home just a few blocks awa...
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Arcadia dog set on fire improving, could be released early

    Arcadia dog set on fire improving, could be released early

    Tuesday, April 1 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-04-02 03:26:55 GMT
    "Hope" was doused with kerosene and set on fire. BluePearl Veterinary photo"Hope" was doused with kerosene and set on fire. BluePearl Veterinary photo
    A 1-year-old DeSoto County dog that was set on fire is improving and could be released from 24-hour care to a primary care veterinarian next week.
    A 1-year-old DeSoto County dog that was set on fire is improving and could be released from 24-hour care to a primary care veterinarian next week.
  • Restaurant Ratings: Most Violations April 7-13

    Restaurant Ratings: Most Violations April 7-13

    Saturday, April 19 2014 6:47 AM EDT2014-04-19 10:47:28 GMT
    We’ve gathered details about the Tampa Bay restaurants that received the most violations during inspections conducted from April 7 to 13, 2014.
    We’ve gathered details about the Tampa Bay restaurants that received the most violations during inspections conducted from April 7 to 13, 2014.
  • Gainesville authorities investigate arrest of UF football player

    Gainesville authorities investigate arrest of UF football player

    Saturday, April 19 2014 11:55 AM EDT2014-04-19 15:55:51 GMT
    Authorities in Gainesville say Purifoy was arrested last month on drug-related charges. Authorities in Gainesville say Purifoy was arrested last month on drug-related charges.
    The Gainesville Police Department has launched an internal investigation into the quashing of an arrest warrant for a former University of Florida football star and current NFL draft prospect.The Gainesville Sun reports that Loucheiz Purifoy was allegedly caught by the Alachua County Sheriff's Office last month in possession of both marijuana and bath salts.
    The Gainesville Police Department has launched an internal investigation into the quashing of an arrest warrant for a former University of Florida football star and current NFL draft prospect.The Gainesville Sun reports that Loucheiz Purifoy was allegedly caught by the Alachua County Sheriff's Office last month in possession of both marijuana and bath salts.
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.