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Police suspect drugs involved in Zephyrhills man's shooting death

DADE CITY — A police officer following the sound of a gunshot and a speeding car discovered a man shot in the torso early Saturday.

Police said the man, who died at the hospital, was likely the victim of a drug-related homicide.

Thomas William Flannery, 46, was pulled from a wrecked car after it hit a tree. Police found at least one gunshot wound to his torso, said police Chief Ray Velboom, He was pronounced dead at the Pasco Regional Hospital in Dade City.

The incident began at 2:05 a.m., when officer Chris Stone heard what he thought to be a gunshot coming from the east side of the railroad tracks on Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Half a minute later, Stone saw a car speeding across the tracks as it headed west on Martin Luther King Boulevard.

After passing the U.S. 98 bypass, the car left the road on the south shoulder, traveled through a field and exited on Fifth Street just south of Martin Luther King. Finally, it hit a tree.

Police and fire rescue workers pulled Flannery, who was the lone occupant, out of the car. Velboom said the man was unconscious.

Police have not recovered a gun, Velboom said. He would not say whether the victim had been shot more than once.

Investigators are still piecing together where the shooter might have been. But they believe the shooting to be drug-related.

Flannery, of 4447 Seaberg Road in Zephyrhills, has no criminal record in Florida.

"We're still so early into it," Velboom said. "We're trying to figure out exactly what happened."

Police are asking anyone with information to call Dade City police at (352) 521-1493 or (352) 521-5604 to remain anonymous.

Police suspect drugs involved in Zephyrhills man's shooting death 01/03/09 [Last modified: Friday, January 9, 2009 10:29am]

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