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One dead, one arrested in double shooting in Lealman

ST. PETERSBURG — One man is dead and another arrested after a double shooting in Lealman Thursday involving three ex-convicts, authorities said.

John Roland, 24, died after he was taken to Northside Hospital, Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies said.

Aaron Reny, 19, was taken to Bayfront Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, deputies said.

James Riddle, 34, who has an extensive arrest record, was arrested in connection with the shootings after he was taken to a hospital for a possible drug overdose, deputies said.

The men knew each other and were arguing before Riddle shot the victims and ran away, deputies said. It was unclear why they were arguing.

The men were outside a two-story apartment complex off U.S. 19 when the shootings occurred about 7:45 a.m. at 3365 57th Ave. N. Neighbors didn't know the victims well, but some believed it was a drug-related crime.

Neighbor Ryan LeClair said he tried to help one of the victims, who appeared to have three gunshot wounds to the head.

Jordan Harris, 18, said he heard six gunshots and screams coming from outside the apartment he shares with his stepfather.

He walked outside and saw a man lying facedown in a puddle of water behind the apartment building, he said.

Neighbor Lisa Davis said she thinks she saw the shooter running down apartment stairs with a bloody towel to his head. He knocked on her door, she said, but she was in another room and didn't answer.

From the sound, she thought a car had backfired. "I never really heard gunshots before," Davis said.

Riddle has been arrested 14 times in Florida, records show. He was convicted of charges related to cocaine and marijuana possession, burglary, and grand theft auto.

He spent time in prison from 1998 to 2001 and from 2005 to 2008. Riddle also has a tattoo that says "St. Pete" on his stomach, Department of Corrections records show.

The two men Riddle is accused of shooting also have criminal histories.

Reny has been incarcerated four times since 2000, most recently for selling and possessing cocaine and other charges, according to state records. He has 35 Florida arrests on record.

Roland was incarcerated for two years. Of his 26 arrests, he was most recently charged with cocaine possession and carrying a concealed firearm, state records show.

Three schools in the area were on lockdown while authorities searched for the shooter. Lealman Intermediate, Lealman Elementary and New Heights Elementary lifted the lockdown about 11:15 a.m., a Pinellas County School District official said.

Times researcher Will Gorham contributed to this report.

Two people shot in Lealman

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One dead, one arrested in double shooting in Lealman 02/04/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 4, 2010 10:32pm]
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