Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas Park police search for clues in death of man found shot at home

PINELLAS PARK — The sign hanging on the light next to the front door invites visitors to "cast your troubles away."

A fitting message for the home of David Eugene Rhea, a commercial fisherman who spent much of his time searching for whatever was in season.

But now detectives are searching for clues about what happened to Rhea this weekend.

Police discovered early Monday that the 39-year-old had been shot inside his home at 5800 94th Ave. He died shortly afterward.

The report that someone had been shot was made to 911 at 2:45 a.m. Monday, police said. Rhea's mother went to a neighbor's house to call for help, according to police, but it was unclear if she was home during the incident.

Rhea was taken to Northside Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:22 a.m.

A police canine team was called to the scene to search for suspects, but was unsuccessful.

Police did not release many details about the shooting Monday, and said they're still searching for suspects and a motive. It was not clear when Rhea was attacked, or whether police were looking for just one assailant — or more.

But police said they believe the crime was not random.

"We believe that the suspects targeted the house for reasons unknown," said Sgt. Brian Unmisig.

The house was blocked off with crime scene tape for hours Monday morning as school buses and children went past.

Investigators and sheriff's forensic technicians scoured the neighborhood for clues. On a road behind the home there were numerous yellow cones marking evidence. Officials said they also found bullet casings on the ground.

Neighbors said the house was known for its run-ins with police in the past.

"We didn't really have anything to do with them," said resident Mark Bentley, 52. "We didn't want to."

According to police records, officers had been called to the home six times since July 2011, including Monday. The more serious calls were about a burglary and an assault, but both were downgraded when officers arrived, said Unmisig. No charges were filed in either case.

He said police were not particularly familiar with the family or residence.

"It doesn't appear we knew the story of that house," Unmisig said.

Rhea has several arrests in Florida dating to November 1992, on charges that included battery, disorderly conduct and overfishing.

Rhea was "hardworking," said neighbor Domingo Vega, 39.

"That truck with the boat was always gone," Vega said. "He always came home late. He was a hard worker; he was a provider."

Danny Valentine can be reached at or (727) 839-8804.

To help

Anyone with information about this case can call Pinellas Park police at (727) 541-0758. Anonymous tipsters eligible for a cash reward can contact Crime Stoppers of Pinellas County toll-free at 1-800-873-8477 or go to

Pinellas Park police search for clues in death of man found shot at home 05/07/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 7:44am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?


    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.

  2. Judge tosses life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo


    McLEAN, Va. — A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

    A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper shooter Lee Boyd Malvo. [Associated Press, 2004]
  3. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies


    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  4. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win


    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.
  5. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.