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After standoff, man is charged in St. Petersburg shootings

This apartment building at 4301 28th St. N in St. Petersburg is where brothers Terry and Marquez White were shot Thursday. Terry White died. Bartholomew Letthand has been charged.


This apartment building at 4301 28th St. N in St. Petersburg is where brothers Terry and Marquez White were shot Thursday. Terry White died. Bartholomew Letthand has been charged.

ST. PETERSBURG — Bartholomew Eugene Letthand fled to a tranquil and familiar fishing spot in Tierra Verde early Thursday morning after he shot his girlfriend's son to death and wounded two other men, the Pinellas Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies found him there in a car, refusing to surrender. Letthand talked about suicide, deputies said. He had already said goodbye to his son.

Sheriff's Detective Oscar Davis kept Letthand talking on a cell phone. Finally, Letthand agreed to give up if the Sheriff's Office kept one promise:

He wanted to talk to his grandmother.

So ended a tense three-hour standoff in a parking lot adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway, between tony condominiums where a handful of residents had been evacuated.

Letthand, 39, was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Terry Dwayne White, 21. He also faces four counts of attempted murder and was held without bail at the Pinellas County Jail.

The incident opened just after midnight with a New Year's argument between Letthand and his girlfriend, Carmen Woods, at an apartment they shared at the Lake View Vistas apartment complex, 4301 28th St. N.

Woods left, and Letthand apparently locked her out, authorities said.

Letthand told detectives that he saw his girlfriend's two sons, Terry White and Marquez White, 19, from inside the apartment.

Letthand thought Marquez White was smashing the windshield of his car while Terry White tried to get into the apartment.

Letthand opened the door and shot Marquez, deputies said. He then saw Terry White driving away in a 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer. Letthand later told deputies he didn't know White's girlfriend and her 17-month-old son were also in the vehicle.

Letthand, deputies said, fired at White, hitting him in the neck. White continued driving a short distance north on 28th Street before losing consciousness, the car swerving to a halt.

Terry White later was pronounced dead. His girlfriend and her child were not injured.

Marquez White was hospitalized with serious injuries.

Letthand then drove his girlfriend's 2007 Toyota Camry to the 70th Lane N home where his ex-girlfriend, Kathy Vaughn, and his 15-year-old son lived.

Neighbor Tanner Linder, 15, heard Letthand honking the horn out front but figured it was just New Year's revelers. Moments later, he heard three popping sounds next door.

Letthand, the Sheriff's Office said, had shot his ex-girlfriend's father, Daniel Selsor, 55, after a brief argument. Selsor was in critical condition Thursday night, sheriff's officials reported.

Linder's mother, Sharon Lalley, said she spoke to family members after the shooting. She said Letthand had come to the apartment to tell his 15-year-old son goodbye.

"He told them he had shot some men and was headed to prison," said Lalley, 52, who noted Selsor was shot in the head.

Lalley said Selsor was a good, quiet neighbor who doted on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle and loved his family. She said he and Letthand never got along.

After shooting Selsor, deputies said, Letthand drove to the end of Madonna Boulevard in Tierra Verde to a location that sheriff's spokeswoman Marianne Pasha said was a fishing spot Letthand knew.

Deputies eventually found him there. Authorities quickly evacuated neighbors about 7 a.m. Reporters gathered nearby.

Hours later, as Pasha talked to reporters, a Ford sport utility vehicle pulled up and its driver told the sheriff's spokeswoman, "That's my cousin. I can talk him out of anything!"

The driver then sped off toward the scene, leaving Pasha behind yelling, "Wait!"

The unidentified driver was stopped by deputies before he got to Letthand and was handcuffed in a cruiser for his own protection, Pasha said.

With Letthand's family gathered nearby, declining to speak with reporters, the incident ended quietly at 10:05 a.m.

Before a cruiser drove him to jail, Pasha said, Letthand's grandmother, who wasn't identified, was taken to her grandson.

Promise kept.

After standoff, man is charged in St. Petersburg shootings 01/01/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 6:29pm]
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