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Brother-on-brother violence shocks those who know Tarpon Springs family

TARPON SPRINGS — Just as they did the day before, cars clustered Tuesday around the Stavrakis home on Grand Boulevard.

On Monday, family and friends had gathered at the home to grieve the passing of family patriarch Steve Stavrakis, who died Sunday.

But on Tuesday, the mourners who gathered bore an additional burden of grief and shock because of what many called an uncharacteristic violent snap by the patriarch's oldest son.

Phillip Steve Stavrakis, 54, was arrested Tuesday after a night on the run, accused of trying to kill his younger brother, John, on Monday.

Tarpon Springs police say Stavrakis shot John several times after an argument near the family home. Hernando County sheriff's deputies and Tarpon Springs detectives took him into custody without incident Tuesday morning after authorities tracked his cellphone to a Budget Inn in Brooksville. He was booked on a charge of attempted murder, a felony.

John D. Steve Stavrakis, 53, a science teacher at Tarpon Springs Middle School, was flown to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg after he was shot. He remained in critical condition Tuesday.

In front of the Grand Boulevard house Tuesday, a handwritten sign hung by the front door, stating "No visitors at this time please."

The brothers' mother, Andie Stavrakis, told a reporter over the phone that she did not want to discuss the incident between her sons. Instead, she said she was focused on her husband's viewing scheduled for that evening and his funeral today.

"Everything will be all right," she said.

Community leaders, neighbors and friends of the prominent Greek family expressed shock Tuesday over the shooting.

"All three brothers, they love their parents," said Tarpon Springs Vice Mayor Chris Alahouzos. "They love each other."

The late father, 84-year-old Steve Stavrakis, lived his life in Tarpon Springs, working for Florida Power Corp. and building model boats.

The Stavrakis family has been active in the Greek community, volunteering with St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral and the Halki Society, friends said.

"They're not the type of people that would argue and fight and be ugly," said Anita Protos, a friend and former Tarpon Springs mayor.

Phillip lived next door to his parents in an attached unit, Protos said, because he suffered from a degenerative disease. Protos and other family friends said they were concerned his medication may have affected his behavior.

Times researcher Natalie Watson and staff writer Tony Marrero contributed to this report.

Brother-on-brother violence shocks those who know Tarpon Springs family 08/14/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 8:40pm]
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