Saturday, June 23, 2018
Public safety

Robbery suspect shot by own gun in Tampa home, police say

TAMPA — Teresa Martin was having trouble sleeping early Saturday morning when she heard a loud crash at her front door.

Moments later, she said, a man with a gun stood before her in the bedroom and demanded cash.

"Give me all you've got now or you're going to die," she said he told her before he pushed her face first into the bed.

In the struggle that ensued, the gun would fire. Only it was Martin's alleged robber who would crumple to the floor, a bullet wound to the head.

Police would identify him as Leonard Denard Porter, 34, of Tampa, a man who also goes by the alias "Kool Aid" and was already sought in another home invasion. They also arrested two other suspects, including a man Martin said she knows so well she considers him family.

Police aren't saying much about what happened. But Martin, a 50-year-old mother of two, told her version to the Tampa Bay Times Saturday afternoon.

She said she was tossing in bed around 2 a.m., thinking about bills she had to pay, a house she had to clean, when she heard her front door get smashed.

She called out to a friend, Jerry Bullard, 52, who was sleeping on the living room couch. Getting no response, she got up and saw the man with the gun.

Martin, who told the Times she relies on government assistance, said she told the man she had no money. She said he pushed her onto the bed on her stomach. And that's when she heard the "click" of a gun cocking.

"I said to myself, 'Oh, hell no. If I'm going to die I'm going to go down fighting,' " she said.

So Martin said she began kicking her feet wildly in the gunman's direction. She heard a boom and looked back. The man was lying on the floor and making gurgling noises, blood oozing from an eye. She ran to get Bullard, whom she had to wake up, and told him there was a dead man in her bedroom.

Bullard said the man was still breathing, so he called police, grabbed a towel and moved the gun to the kitchen table.

"I felt like choking him for what he had done to her," Bullard said.

Bullard then went outside to wait for the police. Martin stayed in the bedroom, eyes trained on her attacker.

"I wanted to make sure he didn't get up," she said.

Martin said she'd never seen Porter before. But police asked her about another man — Johnny Acevedo Jr. She knows him. Martin described him as practically family.

She was hurt to find out police had also charged Acevedo, 31, and Audra Noel Steadman, 30, both of Tampa, with home invasion robbery, robbery of less than $300 and armed burglary with assault and battery in connection with the break-in at her home on Saturday. Police did not provide information about their alleged roles.

Both Acevedo and Steadman have been arrested several times and Acevedo was sentenced to four years probation for a drug possession charge in May, state records show.

That history didn't strain his relationship with Martin, who has a lengthy arrested record as well that includes drug and theft charges. She said Acevedo knew about her finances and when her government checks arrive.

"I knew he had just moved and they were flat broke," she said. "I didn't think this would happen."

Porter remained in critical condition at a local hospital Saturday night. Acevedo and Steadman are being held without bail in the Hillsborough County jail.

Martin was still shaking as she recounted the night before. She wondered what would have happened if her adult son with Down syndrome had been home.

"He would have tried to protect his mom," Martin said. "Thank God he wasn't here. What if he had been here?"

Times news researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report.

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