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Shooting into Clearwater house leads to arrest at hotel

Clearwater police arrest Steven Whitley, 20, outside the Comfort Inn at 26508 U.S. 19 N in Clearwater on Sunday.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

Clearwater police arrest Steven Whitley, 20, outside the Comfort Inn at 26508 U.S. 19 N in Clearwater on Sunday.

CLEARWATER — A 20-year-old man surrendered to SWAT officers Sunday morning, about six hours after he allegedly shot into a Clearwater house.

Just before 2 a.m., police say, Steven J. Whitley fired five to seven shots into a house in the 1600 block of Gentry Street. Two bullets entered the house, but no one was injured. Authorities described the shooting as a domestic incident, but would not comment further.

Police learned about 3 a.m. that Whitley was staying at a Comfort Inn at U.S. 19 and Countryside Boulevard. At 6:11 a.m., police called in the 40-member SWAT team to cordon off the area, evacuating the floor where Whitley was staying. At 9:30 a.m., they contacted Whitley on his cell phone and he surrendered without incident.

Hotel guest Kai Keck, who is from Germany and honeymooning in Florida, described the disturbance as minor. "I woke up in the morning to smoke a cigarette and I saw all of the police and knew something was going on," he said. He and his wife were free to come and go, but decided to go to breakfast to avoid the commotion.

Whitley faces two counts of attempted murder, three counts of shooting into an occupied dwelling, and one count each of aggravated stalking and being a felon in possession of a handgun. He was being held at the Pinellas County Jail without bail.

Shooting into Clearwater house leads to arrest at hotel 11/23/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 4:50pm]
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