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Arrest made in Regency Park shootings

NEW PORT RICHEY — Christopher Stephen Masse came home in the wee hours Saturday morning and found two Pasco County sheriff's detectives waiting for him.

They wanted to talk about a drive-by shooting of several Regency Park houses a week earlier.

Masse, 19, told them he didn't know anything about it.

But he finds himself caught up in the investigation after a friend implicated him in the Oct. 17 drive-by shooting, which may be connected to the death of a teen found in a Dumpster last month.

Timothy Aaron Alves told deputies he was seeking revenge for the death of a friend when he and Masse drove to the home of a "known gang member" and fired shots, his arrest report says.

Three homes on Rockwood Drive were hit. No one was injured, but one bullet cut through a window of a baby's bedroom.

"They're going to see I had nothing to do with it," Masse told the Pasco Times on Monday.

Sheriff's investigators arrested Alves, 19, on Saturday and charged him with three counts of shooting into an occupied dwelling. He is being held in lieu of $450,000 bail.

According to his arrest report, Alves, address not listed, told deputies that he threw a rock with a red flag into the front window of 7219 Rockwood Drive. Then, Alves said, he and Masse drove by the houses twice as Masse fired two handguns from the car. About 30 shots hit three homes.

Masse told the Times he played no role in the shooting. A roofer and a high school graduate, Masse has one charge on his record: failing to appear in court over a citation for a roaming dog.

He said he has no idea why Alves, his friend since seventh grade, pointed the finger at him.

He said the death referred to in the report is a guy named Anthony. Masse said he didn't know him nor his last name.

On Sept. 27, deputies found the body of 18-year-old Anthony Granton inside a Dumpster at Lemon and Orchid Lake roads. Weeks later, they arrested his brother, Derrick Harris, on a first-degree murder charge.

Harris originally told authorities that he found his brother's body after overhearing people at a Valentine Bloods gang party talking about dumping a body. But his story didn't hold up with investigators, and they say they found Granton's blood in the trunk of Harris' car.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Kevin Doll declined to comment on whether the Rockwood Drive shooting has any connection to Granton's murder, or on any gang involvement in either case.

Doll said more arrests may be coming in the Rockwood Drive case.

According to state records, Alves has an arrest history dating to 2006 when he was charged with battery at age 17. He has twice more faced charges of battery and aggravated assault with a weapon.

John Stout lives on Rockwood Drive, across the street from the houses that were shot. He said he's relieved to learn that someone has been arrested, but fears even more retaliatory crimes.

"A domino effect is what I worry about," said Stout, a 29-year-old father of four.

Masse, of New Port Richey, was arrested Saturday on marijuana possession charges after detectives found the drugs in his home while they searched for the guns used in the Rockwood Drive shooting.

Masse said he spent about 12 hours in jail before posting bail and being released.

"I should have never even been in there in the first place," he said.

Arrest made in Regency Park shootings 10/27/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 30, 2008 3:27pm]
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