Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Public safety

Pinellas sheriff says Georgia man shot Seminole food mart clerk without warning

SEMINOLE — Pinellas County has one of the nation's largest facial-recognition databases. But it couldn't help deputies identify the man accused of killing a store clerk.

A palm print didn't help, either. Nor did asking the local media to broadcast the suspect's photograph.

In the end, it was old-fashioned police work that led to Monday's arrest of Darius Diquan Bussey in connection with the Dec. 28 slaying of a clerk at the JFS Food Mart in Seminole.

Detectives canvassed local businesses around the store at 11815 Seminole Blvd. on Friday. They found someone at a nearby convenience store who recognized the suspect from a surveillance photo and knew his relative, a regular customer.

A clerk called detectives when the relative — identified only by the nickname "Unc" — returned to the store on Sunday. "Unc" initially refused to cooperate, but later that evening finally put a name to the face.

Detectives also learned why everything else they had tried up to that point hadn't worked: Bussey, 22, was from Valdosta, Ga. His photo wasn't in Pinellas' photo database of more than 12.5 million offenders. And his picture was broadcast in an area where no one really knew him.

Bussey turned himself in to Georgia authorities Monday after learning Pinellas detectives were on their way to arrest him. He will be held in a jail there pending extradition on a charge of first-degree murder.

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced Bussey's arrest Tuesday and described the ambush that took store clerk Mohammod T. Islam's life.

Islam, 37, didn't have a chance. Surveillance video shows that Bussey shot and beat the clerk before demanding cash, the sheriff said.

"After engaging him in conversation, Bussey took out what we now know to be a .25-caliber handgun and shot Mr. Islam in the chest," Gualtieri said. Then Bussey jumped the counter.

"After pistol-whipping him in the head, he tried to force him to open the cash register," the sheriff said. "But Mr. Islam collapsed onto the floor after being shot."

Bussey left on a BMX bike without any money, Gualtieri said.

He was here visiting his aunt and uncle, who live nearby, but hitched a ride back to Valdosta on Friday, Gualtieri said.

Bussey told Pinellas detectives who went to Georgia to interview him that he tried to rob the store because of the "pain" of being broke and unemployed, according to the Sheriff's Office.

But the sheriff noted that the victim, Islam, worked two jobs.

"He went to work there every day …, " Gualtieri said, "and then he didn't go home because somebody decided they were going to take his life. It's horrendous."

Islam, 37, was born in Bangladesh and moved to Clearwater three years ago from Port Charlotte. He married Bibi Narisha Rahaman, 33, five years ago. They have no children.

He worshiped at the Al Hamza Mosque on Clearwater-Largo Road. His family plans to return his body to Bangladesh, where services will be held.

Bussey has previous arrests on charges of rape, disorderly conduct, retail theft and violation of probation in Georgia, according to Pinellas officials. Information about those cases was not immediately available.

Pinellas officials said the palm print found at the scene of the shooting matched Bussey's prints from Georgia. But because those were for juvenile arrests, sheriff's officials surmised that's why the print from the shooting didn't show up in a national database.

Bussey told deputies where he hid the gun, deputies said, but they were still looking for the weapon Tuesday.

Times staff writer Drew Harwell contributed to this report. Jamal Thalji can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8472.

Comments
Police swarm Panama City street in apparent shootout

Police swarm Panama City street in apparent shootout

PANAMA CITY BEACH — Multiple law enforcement agencies have surrounded a Panama City apartment building where an active shooter is barricaded inside.City spokeswoman Caitlyn Lawrence says it’s still an active situation. The suspect has been firing on ...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
FedEx driver, 22, dies in crash on Interstate 4

FedEx driver, 22, dies in crash on Interstate 4

TAMPA — A 22-year-old FedEx driver died on Interstate 4 Tuesday when a tire blew out on his freight truck, which veered into the path of a Chevrolet Volt, state troopers said. Two teen girls in the Volt survived the 10:21 a.m. crash. A photo shows ci...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Crime in Florida, Tampa Bay region decreased in 2017, data show

Crime in Florida, Tampa Bay region decreased in 2017, data show

Crime in Florida reached a 47-year low in 2017, according to state figures released Tuesday and touted as a "major announcement" by a Republican governor determined to win a U.S. Senate seat. The state’s total crime rate dropped by 6 percent from 201...
Updated: 4 hours ago

FDLE: Pasco couple scammed elderly employer out of $480,000

TAMPA — A Pasco County couple face dozens of charges after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said they stole more than $480,000 from their elderly employer.Chet Alan Ragsdale, 45, was arrested Monday on 28 counts of grand theft, 25 counts of ...
Published: 05/21/18
4 sinkholes open in The Villages retirement community

4 sinkholes open in The Villages retirement community

THE VILLAGES — Four sinkholes have opened up in a fast-growing retirement community in Florida, including one in front of a home that was abandoned months ago because of an earlier sinkhole. A spokeswoman for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office says t...
Published: 05/21/18
Florida man caught walking around naked with a bottle of cooking oil, deputies say

Florida man caught walking around naked with a bottle of cooking oil, deputies say

A Gulf Breeze man walked around a neighborhood naked while carrying a bottle of cooking oil, Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s deputies said.The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a homeowner at 8:30 p.m. on May 17 saying home security...
Published: 05/21/18
A man punched a pregnant, deaf woman and her service dog on a plane ride to Florida, police say

A man punched a pregnant, deaf woman and her service dog on a plane ride to Florida, police say

A man is accused of attacking a deaf couple and their service dog while they were travelling on a plane headed toward Orlando.The incident happened as Matthew Silvay, 30, and Hazel Ramirez, 21, were on Frontier Flight 1752 as it left Colorado Springs...
Published: 05/21/18
Pasco sheriff: Man, 23, sexually battered 10-year-old girl

Pasco sheriff: Man, 23, sexually battered 10-year-old girl

PORT RICHEY — A 23-year-old man was arrested Friday on a charge of sexual battery under the age of 12, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Elias Barreiro sexually battered a 10-year-old girl last year, according to the arrest report. He wa...
Published: 05/21/18
Lava from Kilauea volcano enters ocean, creates toxic cloud

Lava from Kilauea volcano enters ocean, creates toxic cloud

PAHOA, Hawaii — White plumes of acid and extremely fine shards of glass billowed into the sky over Hawaii as molten rock from Kilauea volcano poured into the ocean, creating yet another hazard from an eruption that began more than two weeks ago. Auth...
Published: 05/21/18
Traffic lights restored at Pinellas Park intersection

Traffic lights restored at Pinellas Park intersection

PINELLAS PARK — Traffic lights have been restored at the intersection of 66th Street N and Park Boulevard, police said. About 5:45 p.m., Pinellas Park Police announced the outage. 
Published: 05/20/18
Updated: 05/21/18