Thursday, May 24, 2018
Public safety

Brooksville police captain turns himself in on warrant for battery

BROOKSVILLE — A Brooksville police captain has been arrested on a charge of misdemeanor battery in connection with a fight at a Christmas party last month.

Capt. Rick Hankins, 39, turned himself in at the Sumter County Detention Center on Friday and was immediately released on $500 bail.

The Tampa Bay Times reported last month that Hankins was under investigation after Fred Taclik, a guest at a Dec. 21 party hosted by a Spring Hill physician, accused Hankins of attacking him without provocation. Hernando County sheriff's deputies were called and on Dec. 23 got a warrant for Hankins' arrest.

Hankins' boss, police Chief George Turner, met with Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis later that day and "relayed unconfirmed reports that additional information, evidence and/or testimony might be available that could impact the investigation," sheriff's spokeswoman Denise Moloney said in a media release Monday.

Nienhuis assigned a detective to continue the investigation. In the meantime, the Sheriff's Office said last month, the warrant was "withdrawn." On Monday, the media release said that "the execution of the warrant was delayed." The inquiry concluded Friday.

"There was no information obtained during the investigation that contradicted the affidavit to obtain the warrant," Moloney said. "Therefore, Captain Hankins' attorney was contacted, and arrangements were made to have the warrant served."

Moloney declined to provide an arrest report, saying the case was still open. Detectives have turned over the findings to the State Attorney's Office. Assistant State Attorney Mark Simpson said his office expects to make a decision this week on whether to move forward with the charges.

The Monday after the party, Hankins submitted to Turner a memo offering his account, along with a photo of his scraped forehead and a statement from his wife that supported his account.

According to that account, Hankins and his wife were at Spring Hill physician Brian Kroll's party that Saturday night. About 1 a.m. Sunday, Hankins said, he and Taclik exchanged words and Taclik punched him. The men scuffled briefly, and Hankins and his wife left.

Taclik is a corrections officer in Sumter County, and he and Hankins are longtime acquaintances.

Turner said that neither man was seriously injured and that Hankins was unaware deputies had been called until Turner contacted him early Sunday morning.

Hankins, a 17-year veteran of the force, will remain on active duty at least until the State Attorney's Office has decided whether to file charges, Turner said Monday.

"He's innocent until proven guilty," the chief said. "I'm very comfortable with the State Attorney's Office looking into it, weighing both sides of the account and coming to an independent, fair decision."

Hankins' attorney, Ellis Faught of Brandon, said Hankins disputes the allegations. Faught declined to offer more details.

"We're certainly looking forward to defending the case," Faught said.

Tony Marrero can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1431. Follow @tmarrerotimes on Twitter.

Comments
Three arrested for street racing after mother fatally struck pushing stroller on Bayshore Boulevard

Three arrested for street racing after mother fatally struck pushing stroller on Bayshore Boulevard

TAMPA — The two cars raced each other along Bayshore Boulevard just before noon, witnesses told police. One was a black 2018 Mustang. The other a gold Nissan. They sped side-by-side, trading the lead, police said, despite the traffic and pedest...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Son tells NC police he found dog leash around neck of strangled Hillsborough developer Bill Bishop

Son tells NC police he found dog leash around neck of strangled Hillsborough developer Bill Bishop

After a prominent Hillsborough County developer died last month in North Carolina, word spread it was a heart attack that claimed his life.But records from that state show the death of William "Bill" Bishop was much more complicated.His 16-year-old s...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Woman hit, killed while crossing road in Tampa

TAMPA — A pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing N 40th Street near E Hanlon Street on Wednesday night, according to Tampa police.The crash took place just before 8 p.m. The driver was heading north on 40th Street before strikin...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Coast Guard suspends search for man missing from Tampa cruise

Coast Guard suspends search for man missing from Tampa cruise

The Coast Guard announced Wednesday night that it has suspended the search for a man who was reported to have gone overboard from a cruise ship that left Tampa.Officials aboard the Carnival Paradise told the Coast Guard on Tuesday morning that Brian ...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Sinkhole opens up near Bayfront Health’s Brooksville hospital

BROOKSVILLE — A large sinkhole opened up by Bayfront Health Brooksville hospital in a water retention pond between State Road 50 and the hospital’s parking lot, according to a hospital spokeswoman.The sinkhole poses no threat to hospital buildings, e...
Published: 05/23/18
Clearwater deputy fire chief resigns as report on sick leave abuse is released

Clearwater deputy fire chief resigns as report on sick leave abuse is released

CLEARWATER — A months-long probe into abuse of sick leave within the fire department concluded this week with the resignation of a deputy chief and the release of an internal review.The city paid $93,816 in unearned or unauthorized sick time, benefit...
Published: 05/23/18
Wrong-way driver, 87, dies in head-on collision, FHP says

Wrong-way driver, 87, dies in head-on collision, FHP says

BROOKSVILLE— An 87-year-old wrong-way driver died Tuesday night when she collided head-on with an oncoming pick-up truck, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The crash took place at about 8:50 p.m. on Sunshine Grove Road near Webster Street.Patri...
Published: 05/23/18
FDLE: Victim in $480,000 scam is heiress to Wrigley gum fortune

FDLE: Victim in $480,000 scam is heiress to Wrigley gum fortune

A woman state authorities say was scammed out of $480,000 by two of her employees is an heiress to the Wrigley chewing gum fortune.The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed Tuesday that the victim in the case is Helen Rich, 69, formerly Hel...
Published: 05/23/18
Carlton: Lowering the American flag for the newly dead at school — again

Carlton: Lowering the American flag for the newly dead at school — again

In a scene repeated at public buildings across the country, the American flag in front of the library outside my office window was lowered to half-staff this week.This time for 10 dead in Texas.In February, the American flag was similarly half-staff ...
Published: 05/23/18
Largo man broke into jewelry store, cut himself on glass and bled all over everything, police say

Largo man broke into jewelry store, cut himself on glass and bled all over everything, police say

A Largo man was arrested Monday after police said he broke into the front door of a jewelry store and stole $10,000 in jewelry, but cut himself in the process and left blood all over the store.Police arrested Jaime Williams, 31, on a charge of burgla...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18