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Dispute between Wesley Chapel neighbors turns deadly

WESLEY CHAPEL — A dispute between two neighbors that may have begun over a missing PlayStation 3 ended Wednesday with one man dead and the other running from the law.

Edward K. Stoddard Jr., 28, shot Douglas Abrams, 26, in the driveway of a neighbor's house Wednesday, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

Abrams was airlifted to a Hillsborough County hospital. Emergency personnel did chest compressions on Abrams as he was moved from an ambulance into a Bayflite helicopter.

He eventually succumbed to his injuries. Deputies did not have a time of death.

As of late Wednesday, Stoddard had not been caught. Deputies believe he is armed, dangerous and on the run in a green 2003 Dodge Ram truck.

Neighbors said Stoddard thought Abrams stole a PlayStation 3 and television from his mobile home in March.

"Eddie thought Dougie had broken into his house," said Donna Powers, 26, a neighbor and longtime friend of Abrams'.

She didn't believe Abrams stole the goods.

The two grew up together. Abrams was short, thin and everyone called him "little Dougie," she said.

They used to go to mud holes together and, on purpose, drive in deep enough to get stuck. When they were kids, they threw firecrackers at cars on the Fourth of July.

"Most 16-year-olds do stupid stuff," Powers said.

She had heard through the neighborhood grapevine that Stoddard might beat someone up, but she never believed he would shoot someone.

"I knew he was crazy, but not that crazy," she said.

Stoddard's girlfriend of six months, Karissa Shultz, moved in with him in March.

"I'm dumbfounded," said Shultz, 23. "I don't know what to think."

She was sitting on the back porch Wednesday morning, talking to her mom on the telephone, when the shooting occurred.

"I heard a couple of bangs," she said. "Eddie came running inside, grabbed his keys and left."

Shultz said Stoddard left his phone at the home and has not tried to contact her.

"He didn't say 'I love you' or anything," she said.

Stoddard had a temper, Shultz said, but she also said she didn't think he had it in him to shoot someone. She did not know if he kept a gun in the house.

Both Stoddard and Abrams have criminal pasts.

Abrams was arrested for the first time at age 14 on armed burglary charges. Since then, he had been arrested almost 30 times. Charges included larceny, burglary and battery.

Stoddard was arrested most recently in March on charges he fired a gun from inside a car and eluded police, among other things. He was also arrested in the past on charges of battery and cruelty toward a child.

Shultz said Stoddard was in jail the night the PlayStation 3 went missing from his home.

Helen Anne Travis can be reached at htravis@sptimes.com or (352) 521-6518.

>>How to help

Deputies seeking suspect

Edward Keith Stoddard Jr. is 5 feet 10 and about 200 pounds, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

He has blue eyes and reddish-brown hair.

Deputies believe Stoddard is driving a green 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup with the license plate 231-JCG.

He is believed to be armed and dangerous. If you spot Stoddard, call your local law enforcement agency.

Dispute between Wesley Chapel neighbors turns deadly 04/23/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 10:17am]
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