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St. Petersburg man shoots ex-girlfriend, flees to North Carolina, police say

Anteshya Cooper finished her shift at Walmart on Saturday morning and told her mother she was going to stop by McDonald's for breakfast on her way home.

She never made it. Instead, Cooper walked into Bayfront Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the chest and collapsed on the floor, police said.

She was shot by her ex-boyfriend, according to St. Petersburg police, who dropped her off at the hospital and then fled to North Carolina in her car.

That's where police arrested Thomas "T.J." Terranne Gavin on Saturday night on charges of being a convicted felon with a firearm and an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court, according to police.

St. Petersburg police say Gavin, 23, also will face an attempted first-degree murder charge.

Cooper, 22, underwent several surgeries over the weekend and was reported to be in critical condition at Bayfront on Monday. Police said she identified her assailant before she lost consciousness.

"She told the medical staff her ex-boyfriend was the person who shot her," police spokesman Mike Puetz said.

Her mother told police Cooper ended the relationship some time ago. But, according to a police report, Gavin recently threatened to kill her.

Cooper works at the Pinellas Park Walmart Supercenter at 8001 U.S. 19. She called her mother at 7 a.m. Saturday to tell her she would stop for breakfast. Police aren't sure what happened next, but Cooper ended up in the passenger seat of her own car, police said, with an armed Gavin at the wheel. At some point, he shot her in the chest with a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, police said. A surveillance camera at Bayfront shows Cooper being dropped off at the hospital by her own car at 7:57 a.m., police said.

Gavin then called and told his mother, his uncle and his best friend that he had shot Cooper, police said. He also told his mother that he loved her, that he was driving to Miami and that he would not surrender to police.

"He made threats to the effect that 'I'm not going to let them take me,' " Puetz said.

But about 5 p.m., Gavin was arrested without incident in Fremont, N.C, by police there. St. Peterburg police said Gavin was found with two weapons: a 9mm pistol and a sawed-off shotgun.

In August, records show, Gavin pleaded guilty to six counts of sale and possession of cocaine. He was sentenced to two years probation. Records say he violated that probation in June.

Gavin has refused to speak to investigators, police said, and is awaiting extradition back to Florida to stand trial.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Jamal Thalji can be reached at thalji@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8472.

St. Petersburg man shoots ex-girlfriend, flees to North Carolina, police say 07/11/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 1:02am]

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