The Bizarre World of Florida

Guns don’t shoot people, but they do sort out food fights March 26, 2015

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco says they still don’t know what led to a fight between a group of brothers that ended with two of them dead and another one in the hospital.

helen-trevor-326At a press conference Thursday morning, Nocco released the names of the brothers; Trevor Pimentel, 16, Kevin Pimentel, 12, Brady Pimentel, 6. He said Kevin would’ve turned 13 at the end of this month.

Nocco said initially they believed the fight was over food but now say Trevor and Kevin were preparing food at the time an argument broke out.

Deputies received the call at 6:19 p.m. from a mobile home in the 16000 block of Bachmann Avenue in Hudson.

“Sixteen-year-old Trevor called 911, telling the dispatcher his brother, Kevin, 12 years old, had just shot Brady, 6, then shot himself,” Nocco said.

A deputy arriving on scene heard a boy screaming and he charged into the house, Nocco said.

Trevor was transported to a local hospital with a non-life threatening gunshot wound, according to deputies. Nocco said Trevor has been cooperative but he is emotional.

“Trevor’s heart rate would go up during interview process with detectives,” Nocco said. “He is grieving.”

The boys’ mother, Helen Campochiaro, was at work. Nocco described her as hard-working, noting she has two jobs and was recently in a car accident but chose to keep working.

An 18-year-old brother that also lives at the home also was not at the residence at the time of the shooting.

Brady attended Hudson Elementary School, Kevin went to Hudson Middle School and Trevor attended Hudson High School in the mornings through virtual education classes, according to Superintendent Kurt Browning.

Crisis teams will be at the elementary and middle schools “as long as we need to,” Browning said. “It’s very tragic but we are working to heal families and students.”

Browning said Trevor attended Marchmen Technical College’s culinary program in the afternoons.

Nocco said there are no signs child protection investigators or law enforcement has ever been to the home before.


Someone hates music videos so much that they shot two people who were filming one March 3, 2015

A shooting during a filming of a music video Sunday evening left 2 people injured, including one man who is in surgery and in critical condition.

According to a report by Orlando Police Lt. Darron Esan, a group was filming a music video in the parking lot of the Windsor Cove Apartments at 1458 Mercy Drive on Sunday evening. At about 7:57 p.m., unknown suspects fired toward the crowd from the south.

Two victims were hit, Esan said. One victim is a 22-year-old male who suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and the other is a 28-year-old man. Both men, who were not identified, were taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where the older victim is in surgery now and is in critical condition.

Esan said multiple apartment buildings and three vehicles were damaged by gunfire, but no other injuries were reported. Detectives are on scene now, he said, adding that officers have no suspect descriptions available.

Another shooting had been reported in the area of Colony Way, one street north of the apartment-complex shooting location. It was an area in which one of the shooting victims ran after being shot, Esan said.


Because when your sister makes you a penis-shaped cake, the only rational response is (BB) gunfire

A Holly Hill man has been arrested after police say he shot his sister with a BB gun because she made him a phallic birthday cake.

TAFT--CHRISTOPHER-jpgChristopher Taft, 21, has been charged with aggravated battery and battery in the Sunday incident.

Police said Taft shot his sister in the buttocks with a BB gun in retaliation for his sister making him a birthday cake in the shape of a penis.

Taft told police he thought it would be funny to shoot his sister with a BB gun as a joke and did not intend to hurt her, according to the report.

The BB was embedded in the victim’s skin and she refused to be transported, saying she would go to a hospital herself, police said.

The victim told police she didn’t want to pursue


Two injured in shooting at the ironically named Fun Spot February 23, 2015

funspotA shooting at a local theme park Saturday night left two people injured with gunshot wounds, according to Orlando police and fire officials.

The shooting happened around 8:30 p.m. at Fun Spot America on Del Verde Way, Orlando police Lt. Miguel Garcia said.

An adult male was shot in the shoulder and a teenager was shot in the foot, said Keith Maddox, assistant fire chief.

Both victims were taken to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

Initial reports from witnesses indicate a man was running through the park shooting at people, Maddox said.

Based on descriptions provided by witnesses, officers were able to find the 21-year-old gunman, who then fled on foot, Garcia said. Officers captured the suspect after a brief foot pursuit.

Jamal Dion Lafortune was arrested on aggravated battery with a firearm, possession of a firearm/ammo by convicted felon, discharging a firearm in public and resisting an officer without violence charges.


Mother dies after being shot, stabbed by husband in front of their children February 13, 2015

A woman who was brutally attacked by her husband in front of their children early Thursday morning died overnight, according to Hillsborough County sheriff’s officials.

Keith-DukesMichelle Dukes, 34, was airlifted in critical condition to Tampa General Hospital from her street in Riverview on Thursday morning after her husband, Keith Dukes, 48, allegedly slit her throat and shot her multiple times in the upper body, the sheriff’s office said. He now faces a charge of second-degree murder.

After the incident Thursday morning, Hillsborough deputies found Keith Dukes near the family’s home, standing in the Alafia River. He told them he did it because his wife tried to take their daughters away.

“My life is over,” Keith Dukes told deputies as they apprehended him, according to a probable cause affidavit. “I wish you could have just killed me. Just take me to jail.” According to the affidavit, he had been separated from his wife for about a year.

The couple’s daughters, ages 7, 13 and 14, were waiting in the car for a ride to school when the violence broke out. Keith Dukes first stabbed or cut his wife in the throat inside their home at 8818 Van Fleet Road, a quiet suburban street with no sidewalks and ranch homes. She ran from the house screaming for help and her daughters, who saw her from the car, ran with her, Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said at a news conference Thursday morning.

A passing Waste Management truck driver saw the family running toward him, begging for help, so he called 911. Michelle Dukes was covered in blood.

“I saw a cut going from one side of her neck to the other,” the driver, Jason Alvarez, said.

A neighbor who had come outside after he heard commotion gave the dispatcher the address. In the meantime, the family took refuge in another neighbor’s home.

A short time later, Alvarez heard a gunshot. Keith Dukes had broken into the neighbor’s home where his wife and children were hiding. He fired three shots, according to the affidavit, before a witness wrestled the gun from him.

The children were uninjured, Gee said, but surely traumatized. They were staying with a family member Thursday night.


Neighbors irked after man builds gun range in his yard February 5, 2015

6599793_GThe Lakewood Estates neighborhood is filled with families and children. On any given day, you’ll see kids climbing trees and playing on swing sets.

That’s why news of a residential gun range did not sit well with neighbors.

“I don’t know if this idiot is going to start popping off rounds,” said Patrick Leary. “I’m furious.”

Moms and dads are extremely upset after their 21-year-old neighbor, Joseph Carannante, told them he built a homemade gun range.

6599524_G“I don’t want to hurt myself or any neighbors. I don’t want to hurt anybody. I just want to use this as my enjoyment,” Carannante told News Channel 8. “I don’t want to have to go to a gun range, when I can just go outside my door.”

Carannante wants to fire his 9mm in his St. Petersburg yard, which happens to be just feet away from children. According to St. Petersburg Police, legally he’s allowed to do it.

“I wouldn’t have done all this if I didn’t know the reaction,” Carannante told us, who claims he has all the proper paperwork for his weapon.

He says he will inform neighbors when he intends to fire his gun, which he hopes to do every other weekend.

Residents tell us that’s not good enough.

Leary added, “You heard him say, I’ll tell the neighbors when I’m getting ready to fire. What, do we gather our children and hide? Ridiculous. C’mon.”

Another parent, Kendra O’Connor, promises she will fight this every step of the way.

”I don’t consider it responsible, I don’t consider it reasonable. He’s asking me to go inside my house, go to the other side of the house, as he’s informing me he’ll fire his weapon,” she said.

Neighbors tell 8 On Your Side they feel as though they’re being held hostage by this 21-year-old, who they claim is putting everyone’s lives at risk.

In fact, residents have enlisted the help of their neighbor, County Commissioner Ken Welch.

“Even to the most pro-gun person, to have a gun range in the middle of a residential neighborhood doesn’t make any sense at all. I’m hoping we can get to some common ground and common sense,” Welch told 8 on your side Sunday night.

Welch has already made calls to the St. Petersburg Police Department and the city attorney. He plans to look into the issue.

“People don’t want this near their homes,” he said.

Meanwhile, police admit they’ve been to Carannante’s home and that he is obeying the law. They tell us they will “monitor the situation closely.”


Now open: Orlando’s first “Automatic Adrenaline Attraction” December 22, 2014

Filed under: Amazing,Controversy,Interesting,Shooting,WTF? — floridaduh @ 2:22 pm

Responsible gun owners ought to feel revulsion at Machine Gun America.

Many people take the time to learn about their firearms.

They spend days — years, even —sharpening their shooting skills and knowledge.

And they take pains to practice good safety, such as locking guns and ammunition away from kids.

orl-machine-gun-3-20141219Machine Gun America, which opens today in Kissimmee and calls itself “Orlando’s first Automatic Adrenaline Attraction,” reduces a serious skill to a cheap thrill.

Machine Gun America attraction to open in Kissimmee
Visitors can pull the trigger at Central Florida’s “first Automatic Adrenaline Attraction” later this month when Machine Gun America opens on the U.S. Highway 192 tourist strip.
“If I was teaching somebody to shoot, this isn’t even the Reader’s Digest version … this is just a taste … really just the thrill of it,” Wes Doss, the attraction’s safety and training director, told me.

But that’s precisely the problem.

It’s not that Doss doesn’t care about safety. He does. And he says the attraction is designed to be as safe as possible.

Allowing someone as young as 13 (with parental permission) to walk in off the street without any firearms experience and shoot a fully automatic weapon shouldn’t be an attraction at all.

Firing a machine gun should be left to people who know what they’re doing.

Not novices who have a little energy and money left after a day at the Magic Kingdom and decide they want to blow away some zombies or gangsters before heading back to the hotel.

That’s not just my opinion.

Take it from Ernie Myers, an Orlando attorney and firearms instructor.

“Firearms should not be used as a substitute for amusement-park rides,” said Myers, who is also vice president of the Central Florida Rifle and Pistol Club.

Myers is a Second Amendment advocate. And he enjoys shooting for fun in competitions.

Still, he doesn’t like the idea of giving just anyone access to a fully automatic weapon.

“It’s the ‘Ooohhh, isn’t this a cool thing to do,’ without having the gravitas of understanding what you are doing.”

A machine designed to kill shouldn’t double as vacation bucket-list item. Or be treated like a toy.

Something doesn’t seem right about pulling over on U.S. Highway 192 — across from the carnival games and bumper cars of Old Town and next to a Denny’s — plunking down some cash and picking up an automatic weapon without any real training.

But this is America. And what Machine Gun America is doing is perfectly legal.
I also believe Doss, the attraction’s safety director, when he says it operates as safely as possible.

He says a trained safety officer will have one hand on shooters’ shoulders at all times, prepared to take control of the weapon if necessary.

But just because something is possible doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

And mistakes can be fatal.

Last summer a 9-year-old girl accidentally shot her instructor in the head, killing him, while she shot an Uzi at a firearms tourist attraction near Las Vegas.

Doss said the death was a “complete and total lapse of safety on the instructor’s part” and called the circumstances a “smear on everybody’s faces.”

At the very least, the instructor’s death shows how little room there is for error.

I’d say the same thing about NASCAR’s Richard Petty Driving Experience or Skydive DeLand if they allowed people to just walk in off the street and jump out of plane on their own or roar around the track at more than 100 mph.

But they don’t.

Skydive DeLand requires jumpers to be at least 18 years old. And first-timers get at least 20 minutes of instruction for a tandem jump during which they do nothing except ride along with an experienced instructor. First-timers who want to jump solo must go through a six-hour ground school.

The driving experience in Central Florida requires drivers to be 18 and sit through an hour of instruction before Petty wannabes can take the wheel for a few laps.

At Machine Gun America, however, the focus isn’t on instruction, which lasts a few minutes. It’s pretending you’re Rick Grimes. Or James Bond. Or Scarface.

The attraction very much plays on what customers think they know about guns from watching movies and television.

And not at all on what responsible firearm owners know about reality.



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