Sunday, June 17, 2018
Public safety

New Port Richey man dies after hits by police stun gun

NEW PORT RICHEY — A 54-year-old man has died following a confrontation with police in which he was hit with a stun gun multiple times.

It started Dec. 10 when William "Billy" Shirlaw argued in the street with an unnamed pedestrian near the River Side Inn on U.S. 19. He punched the pedestrian — who called police — and then wandered into the hotel.

New Port Richey police Officer Greg Williams said Shirlaw became violent inside the lobby. Port Richey police officers arrived and subdued him with stun guns, Williams said, after Shirlaw punched and kicked the officers.

Shirlaw, who lived in an apartment at 7435 U.S. 19 in New Port Richey, was transported to Morton Plant North Bay Hospital and put on life support. His family decided to take him off life support Sunday, and an autopsy was performed Monday.

Shirlaw's father, Joseph Shirlaw, 78, said his son suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and needed psychiatric help. Records show William Shirlaw has been arrested in Pasco County several times on charges ranging from battery on an elderly person to possession of cocaine. Joseph Shirlaw said his son was "no angel," but didn't deserve to be killed.

"My son was not armed," he said. "He was in shorts and no shirt."

He liked to cook biscuits and gravy, his father said, and may have been delivering the food to someone before he got into a confrontation.

Joseph Shirlaw says the officers killed his son. Williams says the officers acted reasonably given the circumstances.

"There was nothing that seemed excessive (about the officers' actions)," Williams said. He was called in because the incident happened just over the city limit in New Port Richey. Port Richey police were the first to respond.

The incident is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement at the request of Port Richey police Chief Dave Brown.

FDLE spokeswoman Samantha Andrews said the agency generally does not release information about open cases. She said the investigation began the day of the incident and the agency's job is to find out if anything criminal took place.

Lawyer Wil Florin is representing the family in a potential lawsuit. Florin said William Shirlaw was hit with the stun gun in his carotid artery, and that may have contributed to Shirlaw's death.

"The death penalty is not applicable to getting into a fight in the street," he said.

Comments
Motorcyclist and pedestrian die in Pasco crash

Motorcyclist and pedestrian die in Pasco crash

NEW PORT RICHEY — A motorcyclist and pedestrian both died in a crash Saturday night near Palmetto Road and U.S. 19, police reported.About 10:30 p.m., a St. Petersburg man, 41, was riding a 2012 Honda motorcycle north on the highway, according to the ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
1 dead, 20 injured in New Jersey arts festival shooting

1 dead, 20 injured in New Jersey arts festival shooting

TRENTON, N.J — Shooting broke out at an all-night art festival in Trenton, New Jersey, early Sunday, sending people stampeding from the scene and leaving one suspect dead and 20 people injured, a local prosecutor said. Many of the 20 injured were tre...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Mazzaro’s Italian Market closed after Friday night warehouse fire

Mazzaro’s Italian Market closed after Friday night warehouse fire

ST. PETERSBURG — Mazzaro’s Italian Market will be closed throughout the weekend after a warehouse fire broke out Friday.A St. Petersburg Police officer noticed smoke coming from the market at 22nd Ave. N around midnight Friday, said St. Petersburg F...
Published: 06/16/18
A fentanyl death. A crackdown on opioid dealers. Will it help?

A fentanyl death. A crackdown on opioid dealers. Will it help?

TAMPA — Loueita Hargens had known for years how her son Bradley Dykes would die. She had seen him cycle through drugs of choice, had lost track of the number of times he’d wound up in the hospital or prison.A recovering alcoholic herself, she cut him...
Published: 06/16/18
Deputies: Body found in Pasco lake is New Port Richey man, 74

Deputies: Body found in Pasco lake is New Port Richey man, 74

Deputies identified a body found in Frierson Lakes in Hudson on Thursday as a 74-year-old New Port Richey man.Kress Luebke’s kayak was seen overturned in the water on Thursday night, according to the Pasco Sheriff’s Office.A resident living along Fri...
Updated: 4 hours ago
St. Petersburg police make arrest 31 years after sexual assault

St. Petersburg police make arrest 31 years after sexual assault

ST. PETERSBURG — Police arrested a man Friday in connection with a 31-year-old sexual assault case and believe he’s connected to other unsolved cases from decades ago.Anthony Stokes, 56, faces a charge of armed sexual battery, according to St. Peters...
Published: 06/15/18
Records detail Wrigley heir’s $480,000 betrayal by trusted employees

Records detail Wrigley heir’s $480,000 betrayal by trusted employees

ODESSA — One day in the summer of 2014, Helen Rich spotted a Facebook post about an aging black Labrador in Kansas named Lady who badly needed a new home. The author and heir to the Wrigley gum fortune had recently lost her own Black lab. Rich decide...
Published: 06/15/18
Hillsborough Hispanic women targeted in lottery scam

Hillsborough Hispanic women targeted in lottery scam

TAMPA — Maria Pena-Lebron, 83, was walking out of Fresco y Mas with her groceries in May when she was approached by a woman wearing a straw hat, who pleaded with her for help. The stranger claimed to be an undocumented immigrant and therefore unable ...
Published: 06/15/18
Tampa fire captain demoted for stripping off shirt, daring homeless man to fight

Tampa fire captain demoted for stripping off shirt, daring homeless man to fight

TAMPA — Tampa Fire Rescue Capt. Jeremy Finney was, by all accounts, a model firefighter — until he lost his cool. The outburst cost him two ranks.Finney has served nearly 16 years in the department and was a member of the Tactical Medical Response Te...
Published: 06/15/18
Coaster that derailed in Daytona Beach had reported safety issues in 2017

Coaster that derailed in Daytona Beach had reported safety issues in 2017

DAYTONA BEACH — Two roller coaster riders fell 34 feet (10 meters) when their car derailed and was left dangling from the track, and firefighters used ladders to pull eight others to safety high above the Daytona Beach Boardwalk. "The front car which...
Published: 06/15/18