Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

All's quiet in Pasco as clock ticked toward Mayan apocalypse

PORT RICHEY

The deputies had been warned.

On the eve of Dec. 21, the termination of the Mayan calendar, what some had prophesied as the end of days, there could be trouble. Some would be looking for a last hoorah, which could mean heavy drinking, suicides, looting — who knew? How would people act if there might not be a tomorrow?

None of that fazed Cpl. Norman Gay, a 13-year veteran of the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

His wife joked about it Thursday before he headed out for his 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. patrol shift. He scoffed.

"Yeah, well, you better be nice to the people you work with," he told her, "because I've got a feeling you'll be going back tomorrow."

By 8 p.m. it was slow. Typical weeknight slow. He turned his cruiser down Little Road. Streetlights trailed past the windows. A calm female voice rasped calls over the radio with the urgency of a waiter going down a drink menu. An incoming list of calls appeared on the in-car computer screen in front of him, glaring off his circular, wire frame glasses.

A disturbance call registered on the screen. He picked up the receiver to say his car was on the way.

John LaSalata stood in the driveway of his Winthrop Drive home in Port Richey and looked angry. He told deputies a young woman in her early 20s tried to break in through his bedroom window and that he chased her and tackled her in the street, snatching her purse before she could flee in her car.

In the garage, Gay emptied the purse with a cheetah-print interior into the bed of LaSalata's pickup truck for processing. Among the contents: gloves, a butter knife, cigarettes, 67 cents and 50 Mexican pesos.

Gay took out a clipboard and began cataloging evidence for what would take nearly an hour. Outside the open garage door, rain came hard, then went, then came harder, then went. Still, he catalogued.

About 10 p.m., Gay left the house, drove to a 7-Eleven on State Road 52 and put the car in park to work on other reports he hadn't been able to finish earlier.

The female voice on the scanner continued, calm and cool. There was a man with a gun behind Acropolis Meats, about a quarter-mile from Gay. "Suspect advised he was going to take himself out the quick way," she said.

The reports could wait. Gay rolled out of the parking lot. Another deputy met him in the median of SR 52. Both rolled down their car windows. They waited for the go-ahead over the radio.

"You ready?" Gay asked the other deputy.

"Yeah."

Three more cruisers rolled up. Deputies marched into the wet darkness behind the restaurant, but the suspect wasn't there.

They went down a nearby road and found him, strapped him with handcuffs. He had a can of Steel Reserve beer. No gun. And it wasn't end-of-the-world related.

"This is the holidays, and people get depressed," Gay said as he headed back to the gas station to work on reports. "I won't say it's nightly, but it's very common."

Hot times for criminals, he speculated, are usually weekends around the first of the month when people have the most disposable income. Not like Thursday night.

"Cool weather and rain usually keeps it calm," he said. "They don't like to fight in the rain, and they don't like to fight in the cold."

The parking lot pavement was still wet from the rain. Trees bent in gusting wind as the weekend cold front blew into the area.

The supposed apocalypse drew nearer. Green numbers flashed military time on the dashboard. 23:59. No calls were coming in. The female voice was silent. The clock flicked to 0:00. Gay paid no mind to it and kept pecking away at his reports. It was Dec. 21. The world was still there. And it was slow.

Alex Orlando can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6247.

All's quiet in Pasco as clock ticked toward Mayan apocalypse 12/21/12 [Last modified: Friday, December 21, 2012 8:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Insurers request steep premium hikes for Florida, but Obamacare subsidies may offset the impact

    Health

    FORT LAUDERDALE — Premiums for health care plans sold on the Affordable Care Act's federal exchange and outside the exchange will rise an average of 45 percent in Florida this year, according to state officials. However that doesn't mean consumers will end up spending more money. In fact, they could end up seeing …

  2. Police take boy out of home where sister was shot

    News

    TAMPA — Lizette Hernandez watched a Tampa police officer remove her 19-month-old son from her in-laws' house, the same home where earlier this month her 4-year-old daughter was shot to death.

    Nelly Zoller snuggles with her grandfather's dog, Venus. Her father says she went looking for candy in her grandmother's purse and found a gun instead. [Facebook]
  3. Rick Scott announces support for new legislation, $50 million to fight opioid crisis

    State Roundup

    Gov. Rick Scott announced Tuesday that he is calling for a series of new proposals to fight the opioid epidemic in Florida, including $50 million in new funding.

    Gov. Rick Scott announced on Sept. 26, 2017, that he is calling for a series of new proposals to fight the opioid epidemic in Florida, including $50 million in new funding. [Associated Press file photo]
  4. Republicans to unveil broad tax cuts Wednesday, put off tough decisions

    Business

    President Donald Trump and top Republicans will promise a package of sweeping tax cuts for companies and individuals, the Washington Post reports, but the GOP leaders will stop short of labeling many of the tax breaks they hope to strip away, putting off controversial decisions that threaten to sink the party's tax …

    President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in the Rose Garden of the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in Washington. [Alex Brandon | Associated Press]
  5. Double your fun: Twitter's testing a 280-character limit for tweets

    News

    Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey last year made a definitive announcement about the company's famous 140-character count amid rumors that the firm would substantially relax the limit. "It's staying," Dorsey told the "Today" show's Matt Lauer. "It's a good constraint for us."

    In this 2013, file photo, the Twitter logo appears on an updated phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. [AP photo]