Saturday, May 26, 2018
Public safety

Fired Brooksville officer turns himself in

BROOKSVILLE — On Thursday of last week, authorities say, former Brooksville police officer Bryan Drinkard walked into City Hall and handed an envelope to someone in the human resources department.

The envelope contained a public records request for his ex-girlfriend Tiffany Still's personnel file. On the request's letterhead was the name of Drinkard's Brooksville attorney, Jimmy Brown. Brown's ink-stamped signature also appeared on the page.

One problem: Brown never made the request.

Drinkard, investigators say, had forged the letter and turned it in to city officials without his attorney's knowledge.

After learning what had happened, Brown, without mentioning his client's name, reported to Brooksville police that he had never requested public records concerning Still, nor directed anyone else to do that in his name.

"I am asking you to retrieve all copies of the bogus letter and the original," Brown wrote in an email, "and to return them to me at your earliest possible convenience."

Brown no longer represents Drinkard.

The previous week, police officials had suspended the 44-year-old Drinkard, ordered him to turn in his gun and his badge, and then initiated an internal affairs inquiry to investigate allegations that he had stalked, harassed and stole from Still.

Two days later, with his finger on the trigger, Drinkard walked into the Police Department lobby and placed his loaded .45-caliber Glock on the counter. The now-fired patrolman, authorities say, would later acknowledge that he was so drunk he couldn't remember dropping off the firearm. It sat, unnoticed and unsecured, for more than four minutes.

Normally, Still sits in the receptionist's chair behind a sheet of glass on the other side of the counter on which Drinkard left his gun. At that moment, she wasn't there.

Things worsened for Drinkard on March 9 when he was arrested by the Hernando County Sheriff's Office and charged with burglary, grand theft and stalking in connection with the allegations made by Still.

When Drinkard was apprehended south of Brooksville that afternoon, authorities say, he had in his possession a pair of handguns and a 12-gauge shotgun, along with ammunition. He appeared intoxicated.

Drinkard, records say, had at different times stalked Still, taken jewelry and a checkbook from her home and, in one case over the past two months, arranged for a fellow officer to help him follow her.

The forged records request was just another attempt to stalk his former girlfriend, according to police Chief George Turner.

This week, Brooksville police issued a warrant for Drinkard's arrest on a charge of uttering a forged instrument.

Wednesday night, Turner said, Drinkard turned himself in at the Sumter County Sheriff's Office.

Drinkard's erratic, sometimes dangerous behavior in recent weeks has raised concerns among many people who know him, including Turner.

"I'm just hoping right now Mr. Drinkard moves on," the chief said. "I don't want to see anybody get hurt, that's for sure."

John Woodrow Cox can be reached at (352) 848-1432 or [email protected]

Comments
Police: Driver in fatal Bayshore faces new charge in child’s death

Police: Driver in fatal Bayshore faces new charge in child’s death

The 18-year-old who was arrested this week after police said he was racing when he fatally struck a young mother pushing her stroller across Bayshore Boulevard was back in jail on Friday night.Cameron Herrin, 18, was arrested on a second count of veh...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Five members of 69ers motorcycle gang indicted on federal charges

Five members of 69ers motorcycle gang indicted on federal charges

Last year three members of the 69ers Motorcycle Club gang were implicated in the execution of a rival gang leader in the middle of rush hour traffic in Pasco County.Now those three and two other 69ers members have been indicted on federal charges tha...
Published: 05/25/18

Raccoon bites bicyclist, now the Health Department is looking for the victim

TAMPA — A bicyclist in the Palm River area was bitten by a raccoon Friday morning, the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County said.Now the department is concerned the animal had rabies and is searching for the bicyclist."While it is impo...
Published: 05/25/18

Police: Baby not abandoned; mother surrendered infant

TAMPA — A newborn baby initially thought to be found on the ground near a trash can in north Tampa was not abandoned, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.The child’s mother gave birth to the boy Thursday, and she and someone else too...
Published: 05/25/18
Student says science teacher tackled Indiana school shooter

Student says science teacher tackled Indiana school shooter

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — A male student opened fire at a suburban Indianapolis middle school Friday morning, wounding another student and a teacher before being taken into custody, authorities said. Seventh-grader Ethan Stonebraker said the science teache...
Published: 05/25/18

Woman, dog die trying to cross U.S. 19 in Hudson

PORT RICHEY— An unidentified 45-year-old Colorado woman and her dog died early Friday morning when they walked into the path of two vehicles on U.S. 19, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The woman was walking her dog around 5:40 a.m. across U.S...
Published: 05/25/18
A ‘coupon conundrum’ at a Largo Burger King landed him in jail

A ‘coupon conundrum’ at a Largo Burger King landed him in jail

LARGO— A flap over coupons led a Clearwater man to grab a Burger King employee and yank her over the counter, leading to his arrest, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.Miguel Latorre, 23, was trying to use several coupons to buy a Whop...
Published: 05/25/18
New signs indicate reduced Bayshore Boulevard speed limit after racing deaths

New signs indicate reduced Bayshore Boulevard speed limit after racing deaths

TAMPA — Two days after a mother and daughter were struck by a speeding car Bayshore Boulevard, killing both, city officials on Friday began implementing changes aimed at ensuring safety along the busy roadway.On Friday morning, workers began installi...
Published: 05/25/18
He is accused in 13 Gulfport vehicle burglaries. An ankle bracelet tipped police off.

He is accused in 13 Gulfport vehicle burglaries. An ankle bracelet tipped police off.

GULFPORT — An 18-year-old man, wearing an ankle bracelet, was arrested Thursday after he was accused of breaking into 13 cars in a one-block radius over the last week.Benjamin Langkamp Jr. faces 13 charges of vehicle burglary — each of which occurred...
Published: 05/25/18
Warrant issued for Tampa suspect in January slaying

Warrant issued for Tampa suspect in January slaying

TAMPA — Hillsborough County deputies have identified the suspect in the fatal shooting of a man in January.Deputies are searching for 23-year-old Javon Rakeem Turner, who is wanted in the death of 22-year-old Elijah Moore on Jan. 17.According to depu...
Published: 05/25/18