Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Public safety

Confrontation during dog walk leaves neighbor dead in Apollo Beach

APOLLO BEACH — Deputies have identified the man fatally shot Thursday evening by a neighbor during an altercation.

John Gallik, 52, was at his home at 119 Silver Falls Drive when his neighbor, David Cockerham, was walking his dog. While passing Gallik's home, Cockerham's dog knocked over a sign partially blocking the sidewalk, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokesman Larry McKinnon said.

As Cockerham tried to move the sign out of the way and control his dog, Gallik stepped outside and walked toward Cockerham while he yelled profanities, McKinnon said.

Cockerham took a step backwards. Gallik retrieved a butterfly knife from his pocket. As he thrusted the knife toward his neighbor, he threatened to cut Cockerham's throat.

He charged toward Cockerham. Fearing for his life, Cockerham retrieved a .38-caliber revolver from his pocket and fired once at Gallik's chest, deputies said.

Gallik died at the scene.

Cockerham called 911 and waited for deputies to arrive. He was released and not charged with any crime pending the completion of the investigation and a final ruling by the state attorney's office, McKinnon said.

According to a request for a court injunction filed nine days before he was fatally shot, Gallik did not appear to be fond of his subdivision or the people who lived in it.

He wore a sign around his neck that read, "Death to South Shore Falls," according to court documents filed Oct. 9 by the Southshore Falls Homeowner's Association.

Gallik had no criminal history in Florida, records show, but he served five years of probation in New Jersey after pleading guilty in a 1996 aggravated assault case.

In 2007, John and Deborah Gallik purchased the home at 119 Silver Falls Lane in the Del Webb Southshore Falls subdivision, property records show.

In September, the county placed a lien on the home for unpaid utility bills.

It's unclear how long the Galliks went without power, but court documents filed by the homeowners' association show that John Gallik had been bathing outdoors, running a generator, hanging wet clothes in the front yard, soliciting donations of food from neighbors and threatening a next-door neighbor to get electricity for his computer.

The injunction request also paints a tense picture of Gallik's relationship with his neighbors.

Association members said he made threats against them, posted "foul and offensive" signs, allowed his dog to defecate in the roadway and verbally abused neighbors to the point they called the Sheriff's Office.

The injunction request sought to make the Galliks comply with HOA rules and pay fees to bring his home up to code.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

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