Monday, June 18, 2018
Public safety

Clearwater police ask for help in solving 2008 murder of taxi driver

CLEARWATER — Billboards didn't do it. Neither did an unusual effort to canvass the mall for a murder suspect's shirt. But Clearwater homicide detectives are hoping renewed publicity for the spare amount of evidence in the killing of taxi driver Jack LaGrand could bring closure to the 4-year-old case.

The Clearwater Police Department invited the media Monday to a briefing of police volunteers who then fanned out to distribute fliers about LaGrand, a 50-year-old Yellow Cab driver who was discovered shot dead in his taxi in a strip mall parking lot at 25716 U.S. 19 in Clearwater on Sept. 17, 2008.

The prime suspect in the case is a man LaGrand picked up at about 1:30 a.m. that morning from Fat Daddy's, a Dunedin bar. The man called a cab from the bar and was caught on surveillance video there.

The video has been enhanced digitally by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, leading to a crisper picture of the suspect, said Clearwater homicide detective Thomas Dawe.

"You can definitely see the facial features," he said, adding, "we're hopeful that somebody knows him."

Police also released the make of the gun they believe was used. It is a Russian-made Makarov 9mm handgun, they said.

LaGrand's murder is one of 34 open homicide cold cases at the Clearwater Police Department. Renewed effort has been directed at those cases since Police Chief Tony Holloway took the reins in 2010.

Since 2008, detectives have taken other steps to solve the case, such as tracking down the distinctive skull-and-roses T-shirt the suspect is seen wearing in the Fat Daddy's video and publicizing it in a billboard campaign.

Nothing has worked, but police hope with the passage of time that somebody familiar with the suspect — described as a possibly Latino man with a thin build and short dark hair, between 5-foot-7 and 5-foot-9 — could feel more comfortable coming forward.

Comments
Pinellas deputies arrest Mississippi man 31 years after sexual battery

Pinellas deputies arrest Mississippi man 31 years after sexual battery

SEMINOLE — She was 22 when deputies said a man forced her at knifepoint into the woods off Seminole Boulevard and sexually battered her in February 1987.The case went cold, but now the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said it has arrested the man it ...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Tampa man rescued from near drowning in waters off Whiskey Joe’s

Tampa man rescued from near drowning in waters off Whiskey Joe’s

A Tampa man was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries on Sunday after he was rescued from a near drowning off the shores of Whiskey Joe’s Tampa Bar & Grill, a popular hangout on the beach of the Courtney Campbell Causeway.When police officers a...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Tampa police seek driver who struck pedestrian and fled scene

Tampa police seek driver who struck pedestrian and fled scene

TAMPA — Police are seeking the public’s help in locating the driver who fatally struck a pedestrian before fleeing the scene on Sunday night.Police say the driver struck an unidentified woman near the intersection of N Nebraska Avenue and E Linebaugh...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Man caught in rip current, drowns off Lido Beach

Man caught in rip current, drowns off Lido Beach

A man who was swimming off Lido Beach got caught in a rip current and drowned Sunday night.According to the Sarasota Police Department, the unidentified man was swimming with a woman near Big Pass, a boater channel, around 10 p.m. before becoming cau...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Child, 1, killed in single-car crash in Ruskin

Child, 1, killed in single-car crash in Ruskin

RUSKIN — A 1-year-old child was killed Sunday night and four family members were hospitalized when their vehicle overturned into a ditch.Deputies, responding to the scene after receiving several 911 calls around 6:30 p.m., located the overturned vehi...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Tampa man drowns in waters near Gandy Bridge

Tampa man drowns in waters near Gandy Bridge

A Tampa man drowned Sunday night in the waters on the Pinellas side of the Gandy Bridge.According to Pinellas County deputies, 28-year-old Cruz Sales-Lopez was swimming with girlfriend Erika Fuentes Ambrosio, 33, near the northwest side of the Gandy ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
St. Petersburg teen, 16, and unborn child killed in Pasco crash

St. Petersburg teen, 16, and unborn child killed in Pasco crash

A St. Petersburg teen, 16, and her unborn child were killed Sunday night in a crash in Pasco County, according to a release from the Florida Highway Patrol. Emily Pearson was killed on Little Road at 9:11 p.m. She was a passenger in a 1997 Ford Rang...
Updated: 12 hours ago
St. Petersburg teen, 16, and unborn child killed in Pasco crash

St. Petersburg teen, 16, and unborn child killed in Pasco crash

A St. Petersburg teen, 16, and her unborn child were killed Sunday night in a crash in Pasco County, according to a release from the Florida Highway Patrol. Emily Pearson was killed on Little Road at 9:11 p.m. She was a passenger in a 1997 Ford Range...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Motorcyclist and pedestrian die in Pasco crash

Motorcyclist and pedestrian die in Pasco crash

NEW PORT RICHEY — A motorcyclist and pedestrian both died in a crash Saturday night near Palmetto Road and U.S. 19, police reported.About 10:30 p.m., a St. Petersburg man, 41, was riding a 2012 Honda motorcycle north on the highway, according to the ...
Published: 06/17/18
1 dead, 20 injured in New Jersey arts festival shooting

1 dead, 20 injured in New Jersey arts festival shooting

TRENTON, N.J — Shooting broke out at an all-night art festival in Trenton, New Jersey, early Sunday, sending people stampeding from the scene and leaving one suspect dead and 20 people injured, a local prosecutor said. Many of the 20 injured were tre...
Published: 06/17/18