Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Suspect in Tarpon Springs pharmacy attack says 'he just went crazy,' police say

TARPON SPRINGS — A 30-year-old man who stabbed a pharmacy clerk in the neck Monday afternoon admitted to the crime and said "he just went crazy" but couldn't explain why, police said.

Roy Robert Blair of 1210 Calvary Lane, No. 26, in Holiday, was being held without bail Tuesday in the Pinellas County Jail.

His victim, 23-year-old Jordan Bennett of Tampa, was treated and released from a local hospital Monday night, authorities said.

Tarpon Springs police said Blair went into Anclote Pharmacy at 1933 N Pinellas Ave. just after 4 p.m.

A surveillance video caught the attack on tape. In the video, which was released Tuesday, Bennett is first seen helping a female customer. As soon as Bennett hands the woman her receipt, a man in a baseball hat, who had been standing nearby, jumps the counter with a knife visible in his left hand.

Investigators say that seconds before he jumped over the counter, Blair demanded prescription pain pills and told Bennett "he had two seconds to get him the drugs," according to arrest reports.

The struggle moves out of the camera's view for several seconds. Police say it was during this time that Blair stabbed Bennett in the side of the neck.

Back in the camera's view, Bennett is seen holding Blair down on the counter as an unidentified male customer in a white tank top and jeans tries to help by grabbing Blair and holding onto his belt.

Store owner Chetan Shah, 33, is seen hitting Blair several times with a baseball bat as Bennett holds onto Blair.

Blair is then seen gouging Bennett's eyes with his fingers.

He ultimately broke free and ran away, setting off a search that included police dogs and a Pinellas County Sheriff's Office helicopter.

Throughout the encounter, Bennett appears calm, holding his attacker down after he been stabbed. Neither Bennett nor the store owner could be reached for comment Tuesday.

Blair was found about six hours after the attack in a ditch in Holiday Lakes Estates after Pasco County deputies received calls about a man in his underwear. A Pasco deputy and his canine partner tracked Blair to the ditch, where he was taken into custody.

Like many law enforcement agencies, the Tarpon Springs Police Department doesn't keep specific statistics on pharmacy robberies, but a police official said that anecdotally it appears there have been more in recent years.

"The bigger problem with pharmacies is prescription fraud," said Tarpon Springs police Capt. Jeff Young. "When that does not work, individuals get desperate and resort to this type of action to get the pills they are seeking."

Young said his agency does not suggest unarmed civilians trying to stop an armed suspect, but people also need to protect themselves.

Blair was charged with attempted murder and attempted robbery. Tuesday morning, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office tacked on four additional charges of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. A sheriff's spokeswoman said deputies already had probable cause to arrest Blair from a previous investigation. According to arrest reports, Blair passed fraudulent prescriptions at a drugstore in St. Petersburg at least four times last year.

Records from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show Blair spent 10 months in jail in 2008 after he was convicted in Pasco County of uttering forged bills.

Blair also has a criminal record in Michigan, according to records from the Michigan Department of Corrections. He was convicted of breaking and entering in 1999, and in 2004 was convicted of auto theft and two counts of receiving and concealing stolen property, records show.

Suspect in Tarpon Springs pharmacy attack says 'he just went crazy,' police say 05/24/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 9:42am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump pays somber tribute to fallen troops on Memorial Day


    ARLINGTON, Va. — President Donald Trump expressed the nation's "boundless" gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice paid by Americans defending the United States, dedicating his first Memorial Day address as commander in chief to a top Cabinet secretary and two other families who lost loved ones.

    Brittany Jacobs, left, watches as her 6-year-old son Christian Jacobs meets President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, Monday, May 29, 2017, in Arlington, Va. Jacobs father, Marine Sgt. Christopher Jacobs, was killed in 2011. [Associated Press]
  2. Florida education news: Budgets, discipline, charter schools and more


    BUDGETING: Florida school district officials keep a close eye on their spending plans as they await word on the Legislature's budget. Gov. Rick Scott

  3. Forecast: Return of summertime pattern means afternoon storms on tap for Tampa Bay


    As if Memorial Day wasn't enough of a signal that summer truly is upon us, this week's forecast across the Tampa Bay area will be a stark reminder.

    Tampa Bay's 7-day forecast. [WTSP]
  4. Tiger Woods says medication, not alcohol, led to DUI arrest in Florida

    Public Safety

    Players arriving for a tournament this week at Muirfield Village might notice a framed picture of Tiger Woods with a resplendent smile and bright red shirt. He's posed there with the trophy, an image that embodies the excitement he once brought to golf.

    This image provided by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office on Monday, May 29, 2017, shows Tiger Woods. Police in Florida say Tiger Woods was been arrested for DUI.  [Palm Beach County Sheriff's office via AP]
  5. Manuel Noriega, Panamanian strongman toppled in U.S. invasion, dies at 83


    Gen. Manuel Noriega, the Panamanian strongman and onetime American ally who was toppled from power in a 1989 U.S. invasion and who spent more than two decades imprisoned on drug dealing and conspiracy convictions, died late Monday. He was most likely 83.

    Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega waves to newsmen after a state council meeting, at the presidential palace in Panama City, where they announced the new president of the republic in 1989. Panama's ex-dictator Noriega died Monday, May 29, 2017, in a hospital in Panama City. He was 83. [Associated Press]