Thursday, April 26, 2018
Public safety

State trooper involved in shooting at Gandy Boulevard cemetery

A state trooper "was involved in a shooting incident'' and a suspect was wounded just before 6 a.m. Monday at the Royal Palm North Cemetery on Gandy Boulevard in Pinellas Park, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

The trooper, Daniel Cole, a 13-year veteran, was not injured in the incident, Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Gaskins said. But the wounded man was arrested and taken to Bayfront Medical Center for treatment, Gaskins said.

His injuries were not thought to be life-threatening and authorities did not release his name.

Pinellas Park police Sgt. Tony Motley said Cole was trying to apprehend the man while investigating an unspecified property crime, and two Pinellas Park officers were called for backup.

The police officers arrived at the cemetery, searched a maintenance shed and located the man, who was armed. An unspecified number of shots were fired, Motley said, but the Pinellas Park officers were not involved in the shooting.

Cole has been in the news several times in his career.

In 2001, he shot a man in the hand during a traffic stop. The man, while in the driver's seat of his car, reached toward the floorboard, ignored orders to show his hands and made a sudden movement toward Cole, according to Cole and another trooper who was on the scene. The man turned out not to be armed.

In 2005, Cole was honored for saving the life of a man who tried to jump off the Sunshine Skyway bridge.

As another officer talked to the man, Cole snuck up from behind and grabbed the man's arm as he jumped over the railing. Then both troopers pulled the man back onto the bridge.

In 2011, Cole Tasered a handcuffed woman as she tried to run out of the Highway Patrol station in Pinellas Park.

Her head hit the pavement and she went into a coma with serious brain damage. She was a suspect in two hit-and-run accidents.

Cole said he worried that she would run onto busy U.S. 19. He was absolved of any misconduct in that incident.

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