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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]
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