Archive for the ‘FL’ Category

March 3, 2007

Jacksonville, Florida

From of March 3, 2007

2 robbers pick wrong victim

Two men tried to rob a 50-year-old man Feb. 24 in the 4400 block of Putnam Avenue, but the victim pulled out a weapon of his own.

One of the two would-be robbers may have been shot, police said.

The ,,, incident started at 8:30 p.m. as the victim was walking down Putnam Avenue and two men, one with a gun, walked up demanding money, police said.

When the gun was pointed at him, the victim pulled out his own weapon and fired once, police said.

One of the pair fell, then got up as they both fled toward Philips Highway without anything.

The victim’s .45-caliber handgun and a spent casing were confiscated by police after detectives interviewed him.


March 2, 2007

Miami-Dade County, Florida

From Miami’s of March 2, 2007

Police: Man Shoots, Kills Would-Be Robber

Police said a man shot and killed a would-be robber Thursday night in north Miami-Dade County.

It happened at about 9:45 p.m. outside 752 N.W. 102nd St.

Miami-Dade police said a man was approached by two other men who tried to rob him, but the intended victim instead pulled out a gun and fatally shot one of them. The other would-be robber got away.

Police said it was unlikely the man who shot his alleged attacker would be charged, as it appeared to be an act of self-defense.

From the Miami Herald of March 2, 2007

Attorney shoots first in alleged robbery

A prominent Miami-Dade traffic-ticket lawyer, facing an armed robber, pulled a gun from his glove compartment and stopped his attacker with volley of fatal gunfire.

Driving his black Mercedes, Traffic Ticket Office’s Scott Hidnert was backing out of his north-central Dade office Thursday night when the robber rushed him.

Handcuffs stuffed in his pocket and a ski mask pulled over his head, the attacker pointed his weapon at the attorney.

”I’m lucky to be alive,” the attorney said.

Hidnert has been called the ”granddaddy” of ticket defenders. He founded a firm called Ticket Busters in 1992, one of the first to focus on misdemeanors such as speeding and running red lights.

The firm’s name changed to Traffic Ticket Office three years later. Today, the firm offers legal help in Miami-Dade for $69 and up.

The incident is one of three recent high-profile self-defense shootings, all fatal, none resulting in criminal charges.

Last year, a new Florida law was enacted that loosened the standard for self-defense, allowing threatened citizens to shoot first even if their attacker doesn’t show a gun.

”I don’t expect any charges. He had a gun and was aiming at me,” Hidnert said. “If his gun didn’t jam, he would have shot me.”

Miami-Dade police spokesman detective Roy Rutland declined to discuss charges. “The entire case is still under investigation.”


February 13, 2007

Palm Beach County, Florida

From the Thibodaux (LA) Daily Comet of February 13, 2007

Teen shot, charged, after breaking into classmate’s home

A 17-year-old boy was recovering Tuesday from a gunshot to the chest after he tried to break into the home of a classmate who had allegedly been spreading rumors about his girlfriend, authorities said.

Daniel Scott Merkel has been charged with burglary and criminal mischief and is in custody as he recovers at Delray Medical Center.

“I’m just happy he’s alive,” the boy’s mother, Mary Merkel, said Monday.

Ricardo Collier III, 44, who shot Merkel early Sunday morning, has not been charged with a crime. Investigators said he was defending his home under Florida’s Castle Doctrine law, which allows the use of deadly force if there is a “reasonable fear of imminent peril.”

According to a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office report, the teen was banging on the Colliers’ front door. Ricardo Collier called 911 and told the 6-foot, 215-pound high school wrestler to leave. Merkel then charged at the door and broke inside, the report stated.

He lunged at Collier, who shot Merkel in the chest, according to the report.

The junior at Palm Beach Central High School had apparently come looking for Collier’s son, Ricardo Collier IV, who Merkel thought had been spreading rumors about his girlfriend.

Merkel’s family and attorney dispute Collier’s account of the shooting.

“This was not a burglar that they didn’t know coming through the window in the middle of the night,” said Charlotte Danciu, Merkel’s attorney and aunt. “He might have expected to address his girlfriend’s honor but he never expected Ricardo’s father to shoot him.”

The elder Ricardo Collier’s brother, Charles, said his brother was simply defending his home.

“He was trying to save his family,” Charles Collier said. “Who knocks down a door over a girlfriend? That’s not a balanced person.”

February 2, 2007

Sanford, Florida

From Mobile, Alabama’s of February 1, 2007

Judge throws out manslaughter charge against security guard

A judge threw out a manslaughter charge and another felony count today against a security guard who fatally shot a 16-year-old boy.

William Swofford of Deltona then pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of not carrying his security-guard license at the apartment complex where he worked the night he shot Travares McGill in July 2005.

Swofford paid a fine of just under 400 dollars and left a free man.

Swofford has maintained that he shot McGill in self-defense.

Swofford and his partner were working night security at the apartment complex parking lot when they approached McGill’s car.

Police said McGill tried to pull away, pinning a pedestrian against a van and hitting the security guards’ car. The two opened fire, killing the teenager.

Ansley had been charged with shooting into an occupied vehicle, but prosecutors dropped the charge yesterday.

January 24, 2007

Panama City Beach, Florida

From January 23, 2007 Panama City Community Web Site:

A Panama City Beach man reported shooting a home intruder last week who threatened him with a knife after demanding information about his missing girlfriend.

The Bay County Sheriff’s Office responded to an emergency call from 19986 1st Avenue on Panama City Beach around 6 p.m. on Jan. 17. The resident, Ray Coogler, had called 911 earlier but hung up before the dispatcher could get any information.

A second call from Coogler came in before a deputy arrived to follow up on the first emergency call, saying he had “just shot someone.” A few minutes later a third call was made from the Beach House Bar and Grill on Front Beach Road, just blocks from the residence, calling for EMS because a man had just entered the bar claiming he had been shot.

According to sheriff’s reports, Herbert Davis Groover, age 56, of 114 Deluna Place, Panama City Beach, broke into Coogler’s home and confronted him with a knife. Coogler claims he warned Groover that he had a gun after Groover, who continued to threaten him, demanded that Coogler tell him where his girlfriend was.

Coogler eventually fired at Groover twice, missing the first shot then hitting him in the leg, said reports. Groover then drove his car to the Beach House Bar and Grill seeking help.

According to reports, Coogler claimed Groover’s girlfriend, who allegedly had a domestic altercation with Groover earlier that week, had left for Alabama Tuesday morning after staying at his house Monday evening.

January 24, 2007

Palm Bay, Florida

From Orlando’s of January 24, 2007

Police: Brothers Shoot, Beat Home Invaders

An intended target of an early morning home invasion in Palm Bay thwarted the robber’s plans when he shot one of the men, according to police. A second potential home invader escaped.

Two men identifying themselves as Palm Bay police tried to get into the Edgewood Drive home around 2:37 a.m. today by jiggling the front door, police spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez told Local 6 News partner Florida Today.

Two brothers and a 17-year-old woman were in the house. One of the brothers, Abraham Suarez, ran out of the back of the house to check on his car and confronted one of the would-be intruders.

The man hit Suarez in the face with a flashlight, the report said. Suarez screamed for his brother to help. Adam Suarez showed up and shot the man in the leg.

Anthony Giuffre, 19, of Sebastian, was taken to Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne where he is in police custody. He faces charges involving the home invasion, and impersonating a police officer.

The victims are not facing criminal charges, police said.

“We believe he was defending his property,” said Sgt. Mike Bandish. “The motive for all of this is still unclear, but it doesn’t appear the victim did anything illegal in this particular incident.”

January 20, 2007

St. Petersburg, Florida

From Tampa’s of January 19, 2007

Two men won’t face charges in Wal-Mart shooting spree

Two men who returned fire in a Wal-Mart parking lot gun battle last week won’t face any charges, according to St. Petersburg police.

The men were shot at in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart at at 3501 34th St. S. in St. Petersburg by Joseph G. Williams, according to police.

Williams, 21, who received a gunshot wound to his foot during the incident, has been charged with three counts of attempted murder, violation of a domestic violence injunction and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Williams was scheduled to have surgery Friday for his foot wound.

Even though the other two men involved in the incident do not have permits to carry weapons, they will not face charges because they acted in self defense. Police said the men are cooperating with the investigation.

Police said the shooting was the result of a long standing feud between the men, and not a gang dispute.

January 17, 2007

Daytona Beach, Florida

From January 17, 2007 WKMG channel 6:

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A man accused of breaking into a Daytona Beach home was shot by the homeowner Tuesday night, according to police.

Thomas Lockhart, 28, is in critical condition at Halifax Medical Center after being shot just after 10 p.m. at a house on Orange Avenue in Daytona Beach.

Police said they responded to a 911 call from Walter Watson, 70, whose house had already been burglarized three times this week, and found Lockhart suffering from a gunshot wound.

“This kid, who is known to the guy who’s already filed three police reports, tells him he’s going to kill him, and with that, the homeowner feels he has no other choice but to fire (his gun),” Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood said.

January 17, 2007

Cedar Key, Florida

From the Chieftan Citizen of January 16, 2007

Man who got shot in face is arrested for stalking

A Cedar Key man who was shot in the face Nov. 29 and hospitalized has been arrested by the Levy County Sheriff’s Office on a charge of aggravated stalking.

Roger Frederick Bartell, 51, of 13450 S.W. 72nd Pl., has also been charged with battery and violation of a protective injunction against repeated violence, arrest reports show.

The Sheriff’s Office reported at the end of November that a man had been shot in Cedar Key in a domestic incident, but they would not make details public as the subject was hospitalized and the investigation was ongoing with the help of the State Attorney’s Office.

Now, officers allege that Bartell’s injuries were the result of his stalking a woman and burglarizing her home with plans for an attack.

“On the morning of the incident, he secreted into the house and waited for her,” Sgt. Scott Tummond said. “She happened to be armed with a .38 pistol, and when he tried to grab her she brought the gun to action, firing once and striking him in the chin.”

Tummond said Bartell fell to the floor, while the woman called 911 and fled for her safety.

Deputies and police from Cedar Key responded, and Bartell was transported to a hospital for treatment, which reportedly included an operation for a severe throat injury.

Tummond said their investigation led them to determine that no charges should be filed against the victim, whose identity is being withheld in accordance with state law.

“It was pretty obvious he was where he wasn’t supposed to be,” he said.

Tummond added that they had waited for more than a month to make the arrest because Bartell was hospitalized and on a feeding tube.

“There wasn’t any sense in effecting an arrest,” he said. “We’re a jail, not a hospital.”

Tummond said Bartell had posted a $60,000 bond and had been released from the jail, but he is on a home medical care program.

He added that the victim has since moved to a safe location.

January 10, 2007

Tampa, Florida

From Tampa’s of January 10, 2007

Dispute At Gas Station Leads To Fatal Shooting

Police are investigating whether a fatal shooting at a gas station is a case of self defense.

Police say the shooter, identified as Rodney Rivera, told them a man got out of a black Honda Civic at the Stop and Pick gas station, 1815 W. Waters Avenue, about 9 p.m. Tuesday and tried to kill him.

“It sounds like the victim was making some crazy accusations,” said Tampa Police Lt. Jill Kwiatkowski.

The man twice slammed a car door on Rivera’s leg, according to police, and may have tried to stab him. After failing to push the attacker away, Rivera said, he shot the man once in the torso.

Rivera dialed 911 and remained at the scene.

Police have identified the victim as 24-year-old Eric Suarez, Jr. He was pronounced dead at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa.

No charges have been filed.

This is the fourth homicide of the new year, according to Tampa police. Detectives are treating this as a manslaughter, not a murder, investigation.