Monday, April 23, 2018
News Roundup

St. Petersburg Little Caesars shooter gets three years in prison for shooting patron

LARGO — What led to Randy White's bullet wounds and Michael Jock's prison sentence began with an ordered, but uncooked, thin-crust vegetable pizza.

For 20 minutes on a Sunday in December, White and a friend had been waiting for their order in the Little Caesars parking lot at 3463 Fourth St. N. Impatient, he went in and asked about the delay. A cook, he said later, smarted off to him. White didn't like that. He began to yell and shouted an expletive at the employee.

Jock, standing behind White, objected.

Jock told him he had a foul mouth. He said there were women present and asked him to shut up. White declined to shut up, loudly, and shoved his fellow pizza patron.

But Jock, a concealed-weapons permit holder, brought more to the argument than two fists and a sense of propriety. He pulled out a .38 Taurus Ultralight Special Revolver and shot White twice in the side.

Jock later told police he had fired the gun out of fear for his life. He was standing his ground.

Investigators didn't agree. At his sentencing hearing Tuesday morning, no one mentioned the controversial law to Judge Michael Andrews.

Jock's attorney, Nicholas Dorsten, had already made a deal with prosecutors: three years in prison, two years of probation.

But the arrangement didn't stop about a dozen of Jock's friends and family members from pleading for leniency. They described him as this: a devoted step-father and caring husband of 26 years; a hard-working employee at a local veterinary clinic; a two-decade recovering alcoholic; a patient listener; a "kind, gentle soul"; a "good dude"; and someone who would learn from the mistake of shooting another person.

Jock, 53, told the court he couldn't believe that, after doing the right thing all his life, he was now faced with incarceration. He's kept his troubles secret from his aging mother. Lying to her, he said, has been "the hardest thing."

"I find myself," he told the judge, "in a very unforeseen predicament."

The judge was unmoved.

Andrews told Jock he would have given him 10 years if not for the deal.

White, who didn't attend Tuesday's hearing, believes his attacker deserved about half that.

The events of that afternoon remain fresh in his mind. He remembers exactly what he thought when the first bullet hit him.

"I'm going to die," he recalled, "in this freaking pizza place."

One stray round narrowly missed the head of a woman on the other side of the room, he said. It pierced a picture of a pie on the wall.

White, now 50, choked Jock until he could break free. He ran for the door, expecting to get shot in the back. He had just reached his pickup on the far side of the parking lot when he looked down at the two holes in his side. One round remained in his flesh.

"This guy just really shot me, man," he told his friend.

Jock, he said, walked out and sat at a table, the gun still in his hand. White, who admits he has a bad temper, had a few things left to say. Bleeding, he walked back over.

"I was pissed," he said. "Wouldn't you be pissed?"

The two men kept shouting at each other. He said Jock's wife, Denise, told him he deserved it.

"I couldn't believe it," he said. "His wife was co-signing on it."

She refused to speak with a reporter at Tuesday's hearing.

Neither of White's wounds were serious, but he said his hospital bills exceeded $17,000. The judge ordered Jock to pay that back in restitution.

"I got lucky. I got really lucky," White said. "I could be laying in a pine box right now."

Still, White's luck, he noted, has a downside.

He couldn't persuade a lawyer to sue Jock. White, a mechanic, figures his chances would have been better had he come closer to death.

"I'm going to definitely try to sue Little Caesars, you know."

He said Morgan & Morgan are working on it.

But why would he sue the pizza parlor?

"They're responsible," he said. "Their employee incited the whole thing."

White insists that if the cook had just made his thin-crust vegetable pizza, or not been rude about it, none of this would have ever happened.

 
Comments

The Daystarter: Scott touts term limits in D.C.; Hillsborough teachers get day in court; All Children’s Heart Institute had ‘challenges’; Lightning tickets on sale today

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• We’ll have highs today ranging from the lower 80s to upper 80s with scattered showers and thunderstorms likely throughout the day, according to the National Weather Service.• As you h...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
PolitiFact Florida: Does Gov. Rick Scott want to privatize Social Security?

PolitiFact Florida: Does Gov. Rick Scott want to privatize Social Security?

The president of a PAC that works to protect Social Security says Florida Gov. Rick Scott doesn’t have the backs of senior citizens.Jon "Bowzer" Bauman, the president of the Social Security Works PAC (and a former member of the band Sha Na Na), blast...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hooper: Leader’s vision may lead to new Woodson Museum spot

Hooper: Leader’s vision may lead to new Woodson Museum spot

Premier Eye Care CEO Lorna Taylor received the inaugural Winnie Foster Lifetime Achievement Award at a Carter G. Woodson Museum event Sunday in St. Petersburg.The award is as much about what she hopes to do as what she’s already done for the museum. ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Can New Tampa handle nearly 700 more homes? Not without major changes, council member says

Can New Tampa handle nearly 700 more homes? Not without major changes, council member says

TAMPA — New Tampa was built on sprawl. Big houses, often in gated communities with lots of green space, are the operating principle for developing the area Tampa annexed in pieces starting in the mid 1980s.But residents who love the good schools and ...
Published: 04/23/18
Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Single-game tickets for the Lightning's Eastern Conference semifinal series go on sale to the general public at 1 p.m. Monday at nhl.com/lightning/tickets.The Lightning plays the winner of the Bruins-Maple Leafs series. Game 6 of that series is Monda...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Developer Bill Bishop created

Developer Bill Bishop created "walkable communities"

Bill Bishop was a developer by definition, but those who know him best considered him to be an artist whose canvas was Hillsborough County.Among the communities he created from scratch are Pebble Creek, Westchase, Waterchase and Highland Park. He als...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Not too many people took then-candidate Donald Trump seriously when he famously campaigned to "drain the swamp" as president. But that shouldn’t give this administration a free pass to excuse the behavior of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Env...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputies: St. Petersburg man on LSD knocks out teen girl at RaceTrac while her parent pumps gas

Deputies: St. Petersburg man on LSD knocks out teen girl at RaceTrac while her parent pumps gas

ST. PETERSBURG — A man punched a 13-year-old girl inside a RaceTrac convenience store Saturday, knocking her unconscious as her parent pumped gas outside, Pinellas deputies reported. Kolbe Wayne Smith, 27, of St. Petersburg now faces charges o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

TAMPA — The buzz surrounding this year's NFL draft is a class of talented quarterbacks deep enough to challenge the record six taken in the first round in 1983, a group that included future Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.Th...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

TAMPA — As usual, Andrei Vasilevskiy didn't speak in front of the cameras after the game. He has been like that since he hit the NHL. He still isn't comfortable with his English on TV.But Vasilevskiy spoke loudly and clearly in the first-round ...
Updated: 7 hours ago