The Bizarre World of Florida

Eric Morkert accidentally shoots self ……. on way back from firearms safety class! February 1, 2014

Glock-17A South Florida man accidentally shot himself in the leg while on his way back from a firearms safety class, police said.

The accidental shooting occurred about 9:45 a.m. Friday near Congress Avenue and Neptune Drive.

Boynton Beach police said officers found Eric Morkert sitting in the bed of his pickup truck with a gunshot wound to his right leg.

Morkert told police he’d just left a firearms safety class and had pulled over to inspect his new Glock 17. Morkert said he removed the magazine and was manipulating the slide when the gun discharged.

Paramedics arrived and took Morkert to Delray Community Hospital for treatment. He was expected to be OK.

Police took possession of the gun.


Man being chased by cops says “You’ll never catch me alive”, shows them he is a man of his word January 30, 2014

imagesAuthorities say a man being chased by Southwest Florida deputies fatally shot himself rather than go to jail.

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office reports that deputies responded to a vehicle burglary call in a residential Bradenton neighbor Monday night. Deputies spotted a man and woman in a car with what appeared to be marijuana and prescription pills.

The man — later identified as 22-year-old Elias Guadarrama — ran from the scene, reportedly firing several shots at deputies.

Law enforcement began a search of the neighborhood, with deputies eventually cornering Guadarrama. When deputies ordered Guadarrama to show his hands, the sheriff’s office reports Guadarrama shot himself in the head.

Officials say no deputies fired during the pursuit. No other injuries were reported.

Guadarrama’s arrest history included several drug-related charges.


Trespassing can be a blast…from a shotgun January 28, 2014

A Sarasota man faces gun charges after he fired a sawed-off shotgun at trespassers, deputies say.                          

sfl-flduh-trespassers-sawedoff-shotgun-2014012-001Gary Pearsall, 57, faces gun charges after firing a sawed-off shotgun at trespassers, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. (Photo provided by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office)

A man called dispatch about 7:41 p.m. Jan. 21 to report two vehicles — a Chevrolet truck and a Toyota SUV — being recklessly driven near Lockwood Ridge and Clark roads.

A few minutes later, gunshots were fired in the 5500 block of Blount Avenue, where the two vehicles were parked in front of Gary Pearsall’s home, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

Pearsall, 57, told deputies that he heard people arguing on his property. He heard a woman scream: “Don’t hurt him.” A man said: “Give me my money, or I’ll kill you,” Pearsall reported.

Afraid for his family’s safety, Pearsall told the people to leave. A man replied: “Shut the (expletive) up, old man,” and threatened to kill him, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Pearsall felt threatened, so he went to his front porch and fired his shotgun toward the vehicles, striking them both, according to the Sheriff’s Office. No one was injured, and the people sped off.

The vehicles were later stopped at a nearby gas station. Inside the Toyota were four juveniles, 15 to 17 years old. The Chevrolet was occupied by two men, 35 and 37. The driver of each vehicle was given a traffic citation.

Back at Pearsall’s home, deputies asked to see the shotgun. Pearsall told deputies a former tenant gave him the gun for rent, then he “sawed off” at least a foot of the barrel, according to his arrest report.

Deputies determined that Pearsall recklessly fired three rounds toward a group of people from about 50 feet away.

He is charged with discharging a firearm on residential property and possession of a short-barreled shotgun.

Pearsall was released from jail on his own recognizance.


Florida Man Hops Fence to Shoot and Kill 21-year-old in a Hoodie—Then Claims Self Defense January 23, 2014

gun_1On Thursday, an Orlando man shot and killed a 21-year-old who was fleeing his yard. He didn’t appear to be stealing anything, according to witness accounts. He didn’t appear to be threatening anybody. But Claudius Smith said he feared he was a burglar, followed him over the fence to a neighboring apartment complex, where he shot him after he said he felt threatened, according to a confession documented in an Orlando Police Department report. Smith even said he feared victim Ricardo Sanes was armed “because his pants were falling down” and his hands were in his hoodie pockets, according to a report  obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.

Now, questions are emerging about whether Smith will also invoke the state’s Stand Your Ground law, which gained notoriety over the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, shot in a Florida residential development while wearing a hoodie. Law enforcement officials don’t seem to believe Stand Your Ground applies. Smith has already been charged with second-degree murder. But that  doesn’t stop a judge from granting Stand Your Ground immunity later. In one of the most recent Florida court decisions on Stand Your Ground, an appeals court  granted Stand Your Ground immunity to a man who went to his car to get a gun before the fatal incident.

According to statements by Smith’s girlfriend, Angela Kemraj, to police, the incident started when she saw a man in the yard on surveillance cameras and reported it to Smith. She said they saw the individual in dark clothes and a hoodie leaving their yard without anything in his hands, and climbing over the fence to a neighboring apartment complex. Smith then left the apartment and climbed over the fence. Two minutes later, Kemraj said she heard gunshots. Soon after, Smith came back to the apartment and said Sanes tried to rob him, without mentioning the shooting. During initial police questioning, Smith later denied knowledge about the shooting, and only later confessed, claiming he shot in self-defense.


Wife pins husband between 2 cars, argues with him, gets a gun and shoots him in the leg January 22, 2014

Ruby-SheppardPolice say a 33-year-old woman attempted to run over her husband in the parking lot of Annie Mattox Park in Lake City on Monday evening. Witnesses told police that with her husband pinned between her car and a second vehicle, she argued with him, then retrieved a gun and shot him in the leg.

Lake City police say 43-year-old Anthony Sheppard was at the park with family and friends as part of the Martin Luther King Day festivities. At about 6 p.m., his wife, Ruby Sheppard, drove into the west parking lot of the park off of N.E. Denver street in a 2004 Cadillac. Upon seeing her husband, witnesses reported she attempted to run him over with the vehicle, subsequently pinning him between two vehicles.

Police say Ruby Sheppard got out of her vehicle and began an argument as he was getting out from between the two vehicles. After a brief argument, she ran back to her vehicle and retrieved a semi-automatic handgun from the glove compartment. The victim and witnesses reported to investigating officers that Ruby Sheppard began hit her husband with the handle of the gun.

According to authorities, during the struggle, when their 21-year-old son, Anthony Sheppard Jr., attempted to separate them, his mother pointed the gun at him.  Police say her husband pushed him out of the way as she pulled the trigger and the Anthony Sheppard Sr. was shot one time in the upper left thigh.

He was taken to Shands at Lake Shore Hospital by his family with non-life-threatening injuries.

Police say Ruby Sheppard drove away.  As of midday Tuesday, she was still at large. Officers say she is wanted on charges attempted murder and aggravated assault and should be considered armed and dangerous.

“Due to the citizens who stayed at the park to provide law enforcement with an eyewitness account of these tragic events, the officers were able to quickly identify the aggressor in this crime and will be diligently searching for her for her immediate arrest,” said Lake City Police Chief Argatha Gilmore.


Man accused of shooting at car delivery man January 17, 2014

sfl-flduh-shooting-delivery-man-20140116-001Louis Melone is facing felony aggravated assault charges after pulling out his gun on a delivery man. The driver was dropping off a car to him at his Deltona home on Travida Drive Tuesday morning.

“I just had an old man pull a gun out here because I won’t unload his car off a truck,” the victim told 911 in the beginning of a panicked emergency call.

“And who is this?” asked the dispatcher.

“Some old man just pulled a gun on me and shot at me,” the victim replied.

Minutes before Melone, 72, was arrested, he told deputies he fired one shot, to “scare” the victim, after Melone said the car he bought from Montana arrived with a small crack on the window.

“You need the cops here right away, because if he shoots me, I’m going to run him over,” the stated less than one minute into the 911 call.

Meanwhile, as the victim was on the phone with 911, he told the dispatcher he was hiding behind his truck to protect himself from the suspect.

“He’s crazy. He done shot at me. I’m scared for my life. He’s coming again,” the victim stated towards the end of the 911 call.

“Just stay in your vehicle. Stay away from him ok? How old is he roughly?” the dispatcher asked right before the victim hung up the phone.

By the time deputies arrived, the 72-year-old said he had thrown his gun cartridge across the street in the woods.

Investigators never found it, but did get his permission to collect his revolver in his garage as evidence.

Melone was released from the Volusia County Jail on 5,000 dollars bond.

We knocked on Melone’s door to get his side of the story Wednesday night.

“I don’t want to talk,” Louis Melone said before shutting the door.

No one was hurt.


Two shot, one dead in movie theater dispute over texting. Shhh January 14, 2014

curtis-reeves-0113An altercation between two couples at a Wesley Chapel movie theater Monday led to a shooting that left a man dead, authorities said.

The suspect was identified as 71-year-old Curtis Reeves, a retired Tampa police officer. He has been arrested on a charge of second-degree homicide.

According to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, Chad and Nicole Oulson got into an argument with Reeves and his wife, who were sitting behind them during previews for the 1:20 p.m. showing of the war movie Lone Survivor.

Argument started over cell phone

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said the argument began when Reeves became upset about noise the couple was making while texting on a cell phone. Nocco said Reeves asked Oulson to stop several times, and that at one point he got up and left the theater, then returned to his seat.

Nocco said Oulson then asked if Reeves had reported him to theater management for using his phone, and the two men began to argue.

At some point, Reeves shot Oulson, 43, in the chest, Nocco said. He said Nichole Oulson put her hand up to her husband’s chest as the Reeves shot him, trying to stop the bullet.

Nocco said two off-duty nurses, who were also in the theater, began performing CPR and tried to save Oulson. Both victims were transported to local hospitals, but Chad Oulson died. His wife was treated for a gunshot wound to her hand, authorities said.

An off-duty Sumter County deputy was inside the theater at the time, Nocco said. Authorities said the deputy secured the gun and held Reeves until deputies arrived and took him into custody, authorities said. No other injuries were reported.

“The suspected decides to pull out a .380 (handgun), and he shoots the victim,” Sheriff Chris Nocco said. “It’s absolutely crazy that it would rise to this level of (violence) over somebody texting at a movie theater.”

Theater evacuated after shooting

About 25 people were in the theater at the time of the shooting. The theater was evacuated, closed and cordoned off. Deputies and other law enforcement personnel converged on the scene.

Grove 16 is located off Interstate 75 and State Road 54 at 6333 Wesley Grove Blvd. It includes a restaurant theater called the CineBisto, but it isn’t clear where in the building the shooting took place.

“Everybody is paranoid, scared, because a movie theater should be a safe place where people should be able to go out and enjoy themselves,” Nocco said. “But what America has seen over the last couple of years is that movie theaters have become dangerous places where injuries occur.”

Unlike the mass shooting that occurred inside a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., in 2012, this was an isolated incident stemming from an argument between two couples.

Cobb Theatres released the following statement Monday afternoon:

“We are deeply saddened by the events that occurred earlier today, and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. The theatre is currently closed, and we are actively working with the sheriff’s office on this investigation. This was an isolated altercation between two guests that escalated unexpectedly. The safety, security and comfort of our guests and team members are always our top priorities, and we are truly heartbroken by this incident.

Cobb Theatres weapons/texting policy

The theater has a “zero tolerance policy” for “weapons of any kind” on the property as well as “use of cell phone (including talking and/or texting) or other electronic devices while inside the auditorium.”

Other theater rules include:

  • No excessive or loud talking.
  • No use of profanity.
  • No disruptive behaviors of any kind, including signs of intoxication.
  • No outside food or beverage of any kind.
  • Opened or unopened alcohol is not permitted to be taken out of the building.
  • CinéBistro is committed to being a drug-free environment. No possession and/or use of illegal drugs of any kind.
  • Proper and neat attire at the sole discretion of Management.
  • Recording or taking still photos of any performance is a crime and will be prosecuted.
  • Not responsible for lost or stolen items left behind.

A spokesperson with Cobb Theatres said guests with pre-purchased tickets will be issued alternative movie passes or a refund with ticket purchase confirmation at the box office once re-opened.

Retired TPD officer

According to Tampa Police, Reeves retired from the department on September 30, 1993 as a captain. Later, he was the director of security at Busch Gardens until 2005.

A TPD spokesperson said he was instrumental in establishing the department’s first Tactical Response Team.

“We are not aware of any contact with the department since his departure more than 20 years ago,” the statement said.

Reeves also served on the board of Crime Stoppers in Hernando County.

Neighbors shocked

Neighbors who live in Reeves’ Brooksville community were shocked at the news.

“A very nice guy. Alway smiling. I’ve never seen him angry. Very helpful. If I needed help with something he was always there to help,” said neighbor, Bill Costas. “Totally different guy. Like I said, it just doesn’t make sense to me. Not from what I know of him.”


Man sets up his own backyard shooting range with obvious results December 26, 2013

pile-of-bulletsDeputies are investigating whether a stray bullet from a backyard shooting range may have hit and killed a 69-year-old Deltona man this morning. Deputies identify the victim as Bruce Fleming.

VCSO spokesman Gary Davidson says deputies were called to 3220 Cadehill Drive where the man was found with a bullet wound to his chest. Fleming was taken to Florida Hospital Fish Memorial in Orange City where he was pronounced dead.

Witnesses told deputies that a neighbor had installed a shooting range with a raised berm nearby. Deputies are talking to the man who may have fired the shot. Davidson says the investigation will await the outcome of an autopsy before making a final determination on any possible charges.


When it’s 12 gauge, 80 proof – it ain’t Avon calling December 24, 2013

sfl-flduh-forget-your-rifle-20131223-001A 51-year-old man was arrested Sunday after firing a gun in a home while intoxicated, according to the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office arrest report.

A witness told Santa Rosa County sheriff’s deputies that Terry Lynn Collie had been calling a resident at the home throughout the day. The witness did not know what he was calling about but said the person receiving the calls had asked Collie to stop.

Collie showed up to the caller’s home on Santa Gertrudas Drive and asked to speak with them. A witness stated the person was taking a shower and said it would be about a 10-minute wait, the arrest report states.

The witness told deputies he heard two gunshots fired at the front door while Collie was waiting outside. Officials investigating the shots noted the door had an indention consistent with a shotgun round being fired at it. The second round went through the glass window of the door with an exit point on the other side of the mobile home.

While headed to the home, deputies saw a car matching Collie’s description and pulled the driver over. Inside, they found Collie with a rifle on his shoulder and a shotgun in his passenger seat.

Deputies also found multiple pills and said Collie smelled strongly of alcohol. He was later tested and found to have a .092 and .089 blood alcohol level.

Collie was charged with firing a weapon into a dwelling, discharging a weapon from a vehicle, drug possession, using a firearm under the influence, aggravated assault and the misdemeanor offenses of DUI and traffic moving violation.


2 dead in barbershop shooting … WTF?? December 9, 2013

untitledMIAMI - Two men are dead after an shooting at a barbershop located at 5325 NE Second Avenue.

Police responded to the barbershop on Sunday in reference to a dispute between an employee and a security guard.

When police arrived, the employee stepped outside to speak with officers.

After the officer placed himself between the two parties, the security guard took out his weapon and fired at the employee, killing him.

The officer then shot at the security guard, killing him.

The officer involved was not injured.



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