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Masked gunmen enter Clearwater home, attack two men

CLEARWATER — Police last night were still looking for two men who burst into a home on Grantwood Avenue on Wednesday morning, shot one man and pistol-whipped another.

Dominic Daniels, 26, was shot in the leg, and Marco Conley, 19, was hit repeatedly in the head during the attack, which happened around 11 a.m.

Conley's sister Marcia Welch said she knew something was wrong when she saw him drive up to her workplace Wednesday morning "honking the horn like crazy," she said.

"I ran out and I could see all the blood," she said.

Conley was behind the wheel of Welch's rented Chrysler Sebring, which she had lent him for the day. Her boyfriend, Daniels, was in the passenger seat, bleeding heavily from a gunshot wound to his left thigh, she said.

Welch jumped into the driver's seat, while Conley moved to the back. As she drove them to Mease Countryside Hospital, the men told her what happened: Conley was alone at the home he shares with her and their uncle at 1209 Grantwood Ave. when two masked gunman came through the front door. The men began hitting him in the back of the head with a gun.

Welch's boyfriend, Daniels, just happened to stop by the house and walked in on the attack, she said. Daniels was shot in the left thigh as he struggled with one of the gunmen, she said.

"He was fighting back," she said.

During the struggle, one of the gunmen's masks came off, showing his face, Welch said.

Neighbor Robert Kiehl, 22, said he came outside when he heard yelling. Kiehl said he saw two black men, who appeared to be in their 20s, go into the house. He heard three or four gunshots, then saw the men run away, he said.

After the men ran, Conley and Daniels drove to Welch at Fountain Cleaners on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard for help.

Clearwater police heard that one or more suspects were in a house two blocks west on Hollywood Avenue. The area is east of U.S. 19, just north of Cliff Stephens Park. Police found the home empty, said Clearwater police spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts.

Clearwater police are now searching for the two men. Detectives did not release a motive but said they do not believe the home invasion was random, Watts said.

Conley was released from the hospital after receiving 13 surgical staples in the back of his head, Welch said. Daniels was in stable condition at Mease Countryside Hospital on Wednesday evening, said media relations coordinator Anna Allen.

Welch said she was relieved her five children, ages 14 months to 7 years old, were all at school or day care when the attack happened.

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

Masked gunmen enter Clearwater home, attack two men 03/18/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 19, 2009 9:31am]

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