Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Public safety

Largo murder-suicide couple were paramedics, left 4-year-old daughter

LARGO — Wednesday morning, Paul Knight heard James Wolski say goodbye to his 4-year-old daughter.

Knight lives across the hall from Norma Plescia at Heritage Presbyterian Housing apartments in Largo. Plescia often took care of Wolski's daughter, Kyleigh.

"Goodbye, Kyleigh. I love you," Knight said he overheard Wolski tell the child from the threshold of the apartment.

"Then," Knight added, "he banged the door like he was really angry."

Within hours, James, 35, and his 40-year-old wife, Stacie Wolski — Kyleigh's mother — lay dead in the parking lot of a Walgreens pharmacy on Roosevelt Boulevard. Largo police say James fatally shot Stacie, then himself.

As the Largo Police Department released the Wolskis' names Thursday, a sketchy portrait of the couple began to emerge. They were both trained as professional emergency responders and held active paramedic licenses in the state of Florida. They had worked in Largo at AMR Sunstar, an ambulance service.

For almost a decade, James had been working as a firefighter and paramedic with Pasco Fire Rescue.

Pasco Assistant Fire Chief Cynthia Holland said Wolski's co-workers were reeling from news of the tragedy.

"It has shocked everyone," she said.

Holland, who was Wolski's boss when she was a battalion chief, described him as a "really nice guy" who was "very, very conscientious about his job."

She said many Pasco firefighters are concerned about the Wolskis' orphaned daughter.

"We are just trying to work through it," Holland said. "That's the honest, the best, the only answer. We are trying to understand what we can and be there for our folks, and our thoughts are with that little girl and their families."

Wolski had no disciplinary record with the agency.

Knight, who was questioned by Largo police Wednesday after the shooting, said he often saw Kyleigh staying at Plescia's apartment off 122nd Avenue N in Largo. He said he understood that Plescia was Stacie Wolski's aunt.

Plescia did not answer her door Thursday and did not respond to phone calls.

The "happy-go-lucky" Kyleigh would sometimes come over to hang out and play at Knight's apartment, he said.

"She's basically full of — excuse me — p--- and vinegar, as we used to say. She was full of energy." Stacie Wolski, Knight said, "was very mild-mannered, down-to-earth, easygoing."

And James Wolski? The angry outburst Knight said he overheard Wednesday seemed out of character.

"He was a big man, but he seemed like a gentle man," Knight said. "You know how some people get angry? He seemed like a gentle giant. He didn't seem like the kind of guy who would get all fired up."

According to multiple bystanders interviewed by Largo police, the Wolskis' red pickup truck was seen weaving through traffic on Roosevelt Boulevard shortly after noon Wednesday while some kind of argument ensued inside.

James Wolski pulled the truck into the parking lot of the Walgreens at 2991 Roosevelt Blvd., got out, shot his wife and then shot himself, police said.

Stacie Wolski's Facebook page, still active Thursday, was brimming with photos of the family.

Stacie listed her interests as "Helping my daughter," "Learning Sign Language," "Scrapbooking" and "Photography."

James Wolski's Facebook profile displays a photo of himself with his daughter. She sits in his lap, grinning as she clutches a pink teddy bear.

His listed activities were "My Wife" and "My Daughter." The sole interests he entered were three models of semi-automatic pistol: "Bersa Thunder 280," "Glock 32," and "Glock 27."

The last model, according to Largo police, was the weapon James Wolski used to kill himself and his wife.

Peter Jamison can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4157. News researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report.

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