Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Friend: Victim in Clearwater stabbing was 'a loving dude'

CLEARWATER — Susan Carpenter saw the knife in Michael Gattus' hand and tried to warn her friend.

"I said, 'Gary, he's got a knife!' " Carpenter, 29, recalled Friday morning.

But it was too late. Gattus lunged at 38-year-old Gary Floyd and plunged the knife into his chest, Carpenter said.

Anthony Gary Floyd, who went by Gary, died early Thursday at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg. The fight that led to his death happened at 522 McLennan St. shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday night.

Friends and family said Friday that Floyd, who lived next door to where the stabbing occurred, was a peacemaker who had gone to the home to try to quell an argument.

Clearwater police said a female resident at the home had asked Floyd to help her remove Gattus, 29, and his 32-year-old girlfriend Liza C. Mastronardi from her property. Police have not identified her because she is a witness.

Carpenter, who is a friend of the home's resident, said those gathered at the home that night wanted Gattus and Mastronardi to leave because they were "Xanaxed out" and the resident has children who were in the home at the time.

Floyd came over and tried to reason with the couple, Carpenter said. When they wouldn't leave, the argument turned physical.

"I hear (Gattus) say, 'What'd you say to me, boy?' and he just charged Gary into the road," Carpenter said.

Gattus is white. Floyd, the stabbing victim, was black. Investigators said there were no indications that the stabbing was racially motivated, according to Clearwater police spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts.

As the two men struggled, Mastronardi pulled a knife from her backpack and handed it to Gattus, who stabbed Floyd, police said.

Carpenter said she temporarily restrained Mastronardi until she saw Gattus headed toward her. "I figured he might stab me next, so I let her go," she said.

The couple then walked away and flagged down a car to get a ride. The resident who had earlier asked Floyd for help was able to get the car's license tag and a vehicle description, which she gave to police.

Police pulled over the car at a McDonald's on Missouri Avenue and arrested Gattus on a charge of first-degree murder. Mastronardi has been charged with accessory after the fact. Both were being held in the Pinellas County Jail on Friday afternoon.

Gattus and Mastronardi were part of a group gathered at the home Wednesday night. Both listed their address as Safe Harbor, a Pinellas County homeless shelter.

A longtime friend of Floyd's, Anthony Postell, 25, said Friday he was still struggling to cope with the loss.

"G was a loving dude. … He doesn't hang out on the streets. He doesn't go to clubs," Postell said.

Postell and others said Floyd was a stay-at-home dad who watched his five daughters while his wife worked. Friends and neighbors said they saw Floyd walking his daughters to and from school each day.

He attended Everlasting Bread of Life Church each Sunday, friends said.

Postell said Floyd also looked after the teens and young men in the neighborhood and tried to offer them guidance. "He was always trying to be like the father figure," Postell said.

Friends who gathered at Floyd's home Friday morning to mourn his death said it was sadly ironic that he died trying to help someone else. "Gary was just here trying to make sure everything was calm because of the kids," Carpenter said.

Rita Farlow can be reached at farlow or (727) 445-4157.

Friend: Victim in Clearwater stabbing was 'a loving dude' 09/16/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 16, 2011 6:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. What to watch this weekend: 'GLOW,' second season of 'Preacher'


    Ready to rumble: GLOW

    Four words: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Yes, the fluorescent, body-slamming soap opera GLOW starring a cast of exaggerated characters is back, this time as a fictionalized Netflix series. Alison Brie (Community, Mad Men) stars as Ruth, a down-on-her-luck actor …

    Alison Brie, left, and Betty Gilpin in GLOW on Netflix.
  2. Exploratory Lab Boot Camp provides real-life technology training to students


    CLEARWATER — At this graduation ceremony featuring some of the brightest local minds in tech, it was the youngsters who stood out.

    Laszlo Leedy, 17, a senior at Shorecrest Prep, presents part of his team's project for SPC's Exploratory Lab Boot Camp. Students presented their ideas at the end of the SPC Exploratory Lab Boot Camp. The program provides real-time business training to students. This year's graduation celebrated 15 students that finished the program. 
[JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  3. Editorial: Trump, not military, should set troop levels in Afghanistan


    There is no task more solemn for any American president than the decision to send troops off to war. In delegating authority over troops levels in Afghanistan to the Pentagon, President Donald Trump has shirked his obligation to own and defend his Afghan policy, while further divorcing America's military strategy there …

  4. North Korea says it's 'biggest victim' in U.S. student's death (w/video)


    SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Friday called itself the "biggest victim" in the death of an American student who was detained for more than a year and died days after being released in a coma.

    Mourners line the street after the funeral of Otto Warmbier, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Wyoming, Ohio. Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student who was sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years in prison with hard labor in North Korea, died this week, days after returning to the United States. [Associated Press]
  5. Kentucky recruit, former Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox among top prospects for 2018 NBA Draft


    Less than 24 hours after the NBA Draft, analysts have already begun looking ahead to 2018.

    Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox finishes a layup during the McDonald's All-American game in March at the United Center in Chicago. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]