Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brooksville drug deal starts a melee, deputies say

BROOKSVILLE — A botched drug deal Wednesday evening left one man gushing blood from his head, another man's car windows bashed in and a woman accused of shooting at her boyfriend's attacker, authorities say.

It began when John Kopasz and Rebecca Barker, both of Brooksville, went to 7409 Fort Dade Ave. to sell drugs to Jerry Dement and Sharon Thomas, a Hernando County sheriff's report says.

As Barker was speaking to the two would-be buyers, the report said, Kopasz attacked Dement, pushing him inside the house and hitting him on the head several times with a small pry bar. Dement told deputies that he took the pry bar from Kopasz and chased him out of the house and down the street.

Dement then began smashing windows on Kopasz and Barker's vehicle.

He screamed at Kopasz to come back and fight, and, according to Thomas, told her to fetch him a pistol from the bedroom.

Although the accounts of those involved differ, at least two people said Thomas fired a shot at Kopasz as he took cover behind a trash bin down the street.

She claimed she shot at Kopasz while he was still on the property as a means to scare him from coming back.

Dement then told Thomas to hide the gun, she later told deputies.

When an investigator asked Dement about the gunplay, a report says, he denied that it had happened and said fireworks caused the noise.

Kopasz later admitted to striking Dement with the pry bar, though he insisted to deputies he acted in self-defense.

He was charged with burglary of a dwelling while armed. His bail was set at $25,000. Thomas was also arrested and charged with aggravated assault and was held in lieu of $7,000 bail.

The Sheriff's Office investigation was continuing.

John Woodrow Cox can be reached at (352) 848-1432 or

Brooksville drug deal starts a melee, deputies say 08/18/11 [Last modified: Thursday, August 18, 2011 8:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa poll rates streets, flooding, police-community relations and transportation as top public priorities


    A city of Tampa online survey of the public's priorities for the next 18 months rated improving streets and easing flooding as the top priority of nearly 89 percent of respondents.

    Survey results
  2. Video shows women violently beating another in apparent Pasco road rage incident


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Two women are accused of dragging another woman out of her car window and beating her unconscious at a Pasco County intersection in an apparent road rage incident, according to the Sheriff's Office.

    Shelley Lyn Gemberling, 49, and Alicia Nikole Scarduzio, 20, are accused of pulling another driver out of her car and beating her in a Pasco County intersection. (Pasco Sheriff's Office)
  3. Top 5 at noon: Out of sight, out of mind: a Times investigation; PolitiFact: what's at stake in the tax debate? and more


    Here are the latest headlines and updates on

    Aaron Richardson Jr. talks to voices in his head at his father's bail bond business in St. Petersburg. Richardson has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   TIMES]
  4. It's not a game, but the names are all the same in this football family


    TAMPA — A coach yells across the field into a scrum of blue-and-white clad football bodies at Jefferson High: "Kim Mitchell! Kim Mitchell, come here!"

    These twins are not only identical, but they have almost identical names. Kim Mitchell III, left, and Kim Mitchell IV are  talented football players at Jefferson High with Division I-A college offers. Kim  III wears No. 22 and plays cornerback while Kim IV wears No. 11 and plays safety. (Scott Purks, Special to the Times)
  5. Did Hurricane Irma speed the end of Florida orange juice?


    Hurricane Irma plundered Florida's orange belt, leaving a trail of uprooted trees, downed fruit and flooded groves worse than anything growers say they have seen in more than 20 years.

    A large number of oranges lie on the ground at the Story Grove orange grove in the wake of Hurricane Irma on Sept. 13, 2017, in Lake Wales. [Photo by Brian Blanco | Getty Images]