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Man accused of St. Petersburg armed assault now charged with bribery

ST. PETERSBURG — A man arrested Friday and charged with a Christmas Eve armed assault tried to bribe a St. Petersburg police officer early Saturday, police said.

Jaqueal Edward Harris, 18, offered $17,000 to Sgt. Al White "to interfere" with a homicide investigation in which Harris might be a suspect, an arrest affidavit said. The report offers no other details.

Harris, of 1143 43rd St. S, was charged in the Christmas Eve attack Friday after detectives interviewed him in another case. At the time, police were investigating the killing of Malayshia Gamble, 15. She was found with a gunshot wound to the upper body Friday morning near 856 Preston Ave. S.

St. Petersburg police spokesman Bill Proffitt said Harris was one of dozens of people interviewed about the slaying and that police Sunday were not calling him a suspect in the killing.

Sunday, a man who identified himself as Gamble's stepfather but who would not give his name, said police told the family that an arrest had been made in the girl's death. Police did not identify the person, he said.

Proffitt said no arrest had been made in that case.

In the Christmas Eve incident, Harris reached into a woman's vehicle, which was near Preston Avenue S and Seventh Street, pointed a gun at the woman and threatened to kill her, police said.

Police also charged Harris on Saturday with armed robbery, saying he was one of four men who robbed J&R Repair and Alterations, now M Quick Stop, at gunpoint July 16. The store is at 1435 Fourth St. S.

In that incident, police say, Harris and three others walked into the store wearing masks and hoods and demanded money from the store owner. The robbers, two of whom were armed with handguns, left the store with cash, clothes and other items.

According to police, Harris admitted his role in that armed robbery.

Records obtained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show Harris' criminal record dates back to when he was 13 years old and includes arrests on charges of domestic battery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery, shoplifting, burglary, auto theft and possession of cocaine and marijuana.

Late Sunday, he was being held at the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $220,000 bail.

Rita Farlow can be reached at farlow@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4162.

Man accused of St. Petersburg armed assault now charged with bribery 01/11/09 [Last modified: Sunday, January 11, 2009 10:41pm]

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