Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hundreds stranded as suicidal man causes Dunedin Causeway standoff

DUNEDIN — A 44-year-old man who was threatening suicide gave himself up to sheriff's deputies Monday night, ending a standoff that shut down the Dunedin Causeway for much of the afternoon and into the evening and stranded hundreds of visitors on Honeymoon Island.

Fred W. Mock, a Tarpon Springs man, was taken to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, the Sheriff's Office said.

As the standoff wore on Monday, sheriff's officials made arrangements for motorists to leave the island. Authorities parked an armored sheriff's vehicle between the armed man's pickup and the road, shielding a stretch of the causeway. Then a state trooper led convoys of 15 to 20 cars off the island and over the causeway to the mainland.

Several dozen bicyclists riding in the 15th annual Bike Florida, a weeklong camping tour, were stuck on Honeymoon Island for eight hours.

Three PSTA buses collected the cyclists and their bicycles shortly after 9 p.m. The buses took them to the Ross Norton Recreation Center in Clearwater, where the riders were to camp for the night.

"All in all, it was an amazing day in the Florida sunshine. I thought I would be sleeping in the nature center tonight," said Judy Smith, 61, Temperance, Mich.

On the way out, motorists could see heavily camouflaged SWAT team snipers lying down across the road from the pickup. In the first convoy to leave was a pickup with five people, including a badly sunburned girl, hunkered down in the bed of the truck.

Cousins Jason Wilhelm and Jessica Guggi saw the confrontation that led authorities to close both directions of the causeway for at least 6 1/2 hours. They had parked alongside the causeway and spread out towels to sunbathe when deputies pulled over a late-model silver pickup just after 1 p.m.

From about 25 feet away, Wilhelm and Guggi watched as a deputy approached the pickup. The truck's driver rolled down the driver's side window and leaned out with a handgun pointed to his head, they said.

Times staff writer Eileen Schulte contributed to this report.

Hundreds stranded as suicidal man causes Dunedin Causeway standoff 03/31/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 2, 2008 1:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Free speech rally' cut short after massive counterprotest


    BOSTON — Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans converged Saturday on downtown Boston in a boisterous repudiation of white nationalism, dwarfing a small group of conservatives who cut short their planned "free speech rally" a week after a gathering of hate groups led to bloodshed in Virginia.

    Thousands of people march against a “free speech rally” planned Saturday in Boston. About 40,000 people were in attendance.
  2. Police pull unconscious New Port Richey man from SUV in Cotee River


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Police rescued an unconscious driver whose sport utility vehicle plunged into the Cotee River on Saturday.

  3. Analysis: Bannon is out, but his agenda may live on


    WASHINGTON — In his West Wing office, Stephen Bannon kept a chart listing trade actions — on China, steel and autos — that the Trump White House planned to roll out, week by week, through the fall. Now that Bannon, the president's chief strategist, has been pushed out, the question is whether his …

    Steve Bannon thinks he could be more effective influencing policy from outside the White House.
  4. Trump to skip Kennedy Center Honors awards program


    BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Acknowledging that he has become a "political distraction," President Donald Trump has decided to skip the festivities surrounding the annual Kennedy Center Honors arts awards later this year, the White House announced Saturday amid the continuing fallout over Trump's stance on last weekend's …

  5. Bucs' annual Women of RED preseason party attracts nearly 2,000


    TAMPA — Theresa Jones is primarily a college football fan, but she wanted to get a taste of the Bucs. So the 46-year-old Tampa resident bought a ticket for the team's Women of RED Ultimate Football Party at Raymond James Stadium on Friday.

    Lee White of Seminole tries on a helmet at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers female fans descended upon Raymond James Stadium for the ultimate football party, the 2017 Women of RED: The Takeover, supported by Moffitt Cancer Center. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times