Saturday, April 21, 2018
Public safety

Moon Lake neighbors recall chaos as man killed in shootout with deputies

Just before the gun battle erupted, Toy Davidson had drifted to sleep inside his doublewide Moon Lake mobile home, his wife next to him on the couch and the final scenes of The Drifter playing on the television.

Beneath a hovering helicopter late Friday, dozens of Pasco County sheriff's deputies, many in SWAT gear with their weapons drawn, crept about the neighborhood, where attached to almost every chain-link fence that surrounds almost every property is at least one sign warning of a dog or against trespassing.

Authorities had evacuated a half-dozen homes on the block just north of Davidson's after a man had threatened to kill his wife of 26 years. Then, after she fled, investigators say he pointed a gun at a deputy who responded to his home at 9518 Marley Ave.

Crisis negotiators contacted him, but their efforts proved fruitless.

Just before midnight, investigators say, Robert William Kaminski, 62, walked outside with an AK-47 and opened fire on deputies. From behind a patrol car, multiple deputies fired back, striking Kaminski multiple times. He died on the circular driveway in front of his beige mobile home.

Several of Kaminski's rounds hit a patrol car parked just outside his home. Another struck an evacuated home across the street, blowing a racquetball-sized hole in the window of a child's bedroom.

Down the street, the noise was so loud that Davidson's wife, Lisa, believed a firefight had broken out in their front yard.

"Gun shots," she yelled. "Gun shots."

They both crumpled to the floor. She reached for their dogs, Mercedes, a maltipoo, and Tiny, a chihuahua, and pulled them under her.

"It sounded like a machine gun," Toy Davidson said. "We didn't know what way them shots was going."

The blasts soon ended. He knew what that meant.

"It's over," he told his wife. "Whoever it was is dead now."

Lisa Clark, who lives even closer to the scene, was doing laundry and dishes in the dark when the shooting started. She ducked and ran into the bedroom. A few minutes later, she looked out her front window. Through the smoke of gunfire, she saw a deputy checking Kaminski's body for a pulse.

Davidson and Clark didn't know Kaminski, who had lived in the home for 12 years with his wife, Lonnie. Some neighbors recalled hearing loud arguments at the home, but sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said deputies had never before been called there over a domestic dispute.

Still, Davidson said, fights — and law enforcement — are common in the area.

"You could watch Jerry Springer out here," he said.

Kaminski's lone arrest was in 2006 on a charge of DUI. He was found guilty and received probation.

Court records indicate that the Kaminskis filed for bankruptcy in 2011, a process that remains ongoing.

Neither Lonnie Kaminski nor her husband's family members could be reached Saturday.

Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report. John Woodrow Cox can be reached at [email protected]

 
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