Thursday, January 18, 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]

 
Comments
Tropical Breeze patron rides shuttle to check on crew

Tropical Breeze patron rides shuttle to check on crew

PORT RICHEY — Loretta Santini was one of a small group of customers boarding a Tropical Breeze Casino shuttle Thursday afternoon as the company sailed for the first day since another of its shuttle boats burned to the water Sunday, killing one woman....
Updated: 3 hours ago
DUI arrest: Tampa man mistakes bank drive-thru for Taco Bell

DUI arrest: Tampa man mistakes bank drive-thru for Taco Bell

SPRING HILL — A 38-year-old Tampa man was arrested Wednesday on a charge of driving under the influence involving drugs or alcohol after deputies said he mistook a Bank of America drive-thru for a Taco Bell.The branch manager of the Mariner Boulevard...
Updated: 5 hours ago
St. Pete police presence at MLK Day after-party raises concerns

St. Pete police presence at MLK Day after-party raises concerns

ST. PETERSBURG— Several people have complained about police patrols around the celebration in Midtown that follows the city’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade, questioning whether a robust law enforcement presence this year was racially m...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Police: ‘Man-bun bandit’ seen stealing packages from Clearwater home

Police: ‘Man-bun bandit’ seen stealing packages from Clearwater home

Clearwater Police are searching for a "man-bun bandit" who is seen stealing packages from a residence.Police on Thursday tweeted this video of the suspect, who is seen attempting to balance multiple packages while gathering them at a home on Majestic...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Captain of casino boat that caught fire says he’s no hero

Captain of casino boat that caught fire says he’s no hero

The captain of a casino boat shuttle that caught fire over the weekend in Port Richey says he’s no hero, despite quickly running his boat aground so that 49 passengers on the vessel could escape.One of those passengers, Carrie Dempsey, a 42-year-old ...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Two treated at hospital after fire at Apollo Beach home

Two elderly residents were treated at a local hospital after a fire at an Apollo Beach home early Thursday morning.Hillsborough Fire Rescue crews, responding to the 600 block of Flamingo Drive around 4 a.m., found the home fully engulfed in flames.Tw...
Published: 01/18/18

Hernando deputy standoff fueled by day of drinking

William "Cole" Brinson drank all day and had been "trying to start things all evening" before barricading himself in his home north of Brooksville on Jan. 8, according to Hernando County Sheriff’s Office arrest records.It wasn’t the first time, accor...
Published: 01/18/18
‘All I see is fire’: 911 calls released from Florida casino boat fire

‘All I see is fire’: 911 calls released from Florida casino boat fire

PORT RICHEY — The first call came into emergency dispatch at 4 p.m. on Sunday from shore, reporting a ‘giant’ boat on fire in the Pithlachascotee River."It’s urgent," the caller said.Others followed quickly, one woman crying as she described from her...
Published: 01/17/18
Gibsonton man faces 50 counts of child porn

Gibsonton man faces 50 counts of child porn

GIBSONTON — A 46-year-old man was arrested Wednesday by Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents on 50 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of promoting a sexual performance by a child.Authorities said they received several tip...
Published: 01/17/18

He still has nightmares: Deckhand recalls prior casino boat fire

Cory Byrd said he still has nightmares about the smoke. In them, he is back in the cabin of the Express Shuttle II, scrambling to reach the white rectangle of an open door. The smoke was so thick, he said, you could barely see an outstretched hand. ...
Published: 01/17/18