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St. Petersburg police arrest man Wednesday after clearing two others

ST. PETERSBURG — After clearing two men who fled from officers investigating a Monday morning shooting, police on Wednesday arrested another man who they say may be connected to that incident.

Police were already searching for that man, Rondereko Watson, when he got into a crash at 11:12 a.m. Wednesday. The 31-year-old was driving a rented 2012 white Lincoln sedan along 39th Avenue near Fourth Street N when he ran a stop sign and hit another vehicle, police said.

Officers converged on the scene of the accident looking for Watson. A police dog tracked Watson to 435 38th Ave. N, where he was found hiding under a tarp near a doghouse behind the home, police said.

Watson had been identified as a person of interest in the shooting after interviewing the victim, Cortezz Foster, 28, from his hospital bed. Foster was robbed and shot twice early Monday at 1414 20th Ave. S. He was hospitalized and reported to be in critical condition on Wednesday.

Police arrested Watson on Wednesday on charges of driving with a suspended license and leaving the scene of a crash involving an injury. The shooting investigation is continuing, police said, and no charges have been filed against Watson pertaining to Monday's shooting.

The person injured in Wednesday's crash, Kelly Stefani, was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, police said. Stefani, 46, was on her way to work at the St. Petersburg Times, where she is an editorial assistant.

Earlier Wednesday, before Watson's arrest, police said the two men arrested in the shooting were not actually involved.

Quinton Collier, 28, and Arsenio T. Brinson, 24, were initially identified as "persons of interest" because they were driving a car that matched witnesses' description from the robbery, said police spokesman Mike Puetz.

But the men sped away when police tried to stop them, Puetz said, because they likely had a gun and drugs with them. Collier was charged with fleeing and eluding, being a felon in possession of a firearm, resisting an officer with violence and marijuana possession. Brinson was charged with marijuana possession, resisting arrest without violence and failing to appear in court.

St. Petersburg police arrest man Wednesday after clearing two others 12/07/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 10:34pm]
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