Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tarpon Springs police arrest Clearwater man in teen's shooting

TARPON SPRINGS — A dropped cellphone and a chatty suspect led police to an arrest in an attempted mugging Saturday night that ended with a teenager being shot.

Elvin Joel Velez Pacheco, 35, faces charges of attempted armed robbery and attempted murder.

Police found Velez Pacheco at his Clearwater home Monday evening. They say he had been talking about the shooting on Walton Avenue, near Tarpon Avenue.

About 9:30 p.m. Saturday, police say a man pointed a gun at 19-year-old Bradley Edward Perez and a 16-year-old girl. He motioned them to move toward a darkened driveway.

"Get in there," police say the gunman told the two teenagers. "Get in there."

Perez reached for the gun. It went off. Perez fell to the ground, shot through his left side, and the would-be robber ran.

But the shooter dropped his cellphone, which police say the girl used to call 911.

Later, the man went to see an acquaintance at the Riverside Apartments on Beckett Way. He flashed the gun, police said, and told the acquaintance, "This gun's for you, too."

Police used that witness' account to identify Velez Pacheco as the shooting suspect, along with information from Velez Pacheco's live-in girlfriend. She said Velez Pacheco confessed to her about the attempted robbery and shooting, and she confirmed the number to his lost cellphone.

Velez Pacheco told investigators Monday that he didn't know anything about the incident.

Police haven't recovered the weapon, which they believe is a .38-caliber chrome revolver.

Perez, the shooting victim, found out about the arrest Tuesday from a reporter.

"Oh my God," he said. "No way. Oh my gosh, that's crazy."

He looked at Velez Pacheco's booking photo.

"Yeah," he said, "that looks pretty much like him."

A certified nursing assistant, Perez has been recovering at his Tarpon Springs home after treatment at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg. On his left side, wounds where the bullet entered and exited mark the skin below his ribs.

But while he called it good news, the arrest didn't seem to change much for him. What happened to Perez, police say, appeared to be a random robbery by a man wanting cash.

"It could happen again," Perez said. "It could happen to anyone else."

And, according to state records, Velez Pacheco has been accused of a similar crime before.

In 2002, Tarpon Springs police arrested Velez Pacheco on charges of attempted armed robbery and possession of crack cocaine. Police say he brandished a BB gun near the same spot on Tarpon and Walton avenues. The most serious charges were dropped, but he was put on a year's probation for carrying a concealed weapon, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

In 2007, Hillsborough deputies booked him on misdemeanor charges of petty theft and possession of marijuana.

Over the years, Velez Pacheco also has encountered problems with driving without a valid license. He has given his name as Jorge Luis Perez, and state records also list him under Pachaeo Alvin Joel Velez.

Tuesday, he was being held in the Pinellas County Jail without bail.

Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this story. Stephanie Wang can be reached at (727) 445-4155 or

Tarpon Springs police arrest Clearwater man in teen's shooting 10/09/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 5:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Mumford and Sons shower Amalie Arena with love in euphoric Tampa debut


    There are releases, and then there are releases. And minutes into their concert Wednesday at Amalie Arena, Mumford and Sons gave Tampa the latter.

    Mumford and Sons performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Sept. 20, 2017.
  2. FEMA to open disaster recovery center in Riverview


    The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it will open a disaster recovery center Thursday in Riverview for Hillsborough County residents impacted by Hurricane Irma.

  3. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander


    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  4. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.


    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) takes the field to start the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  5. GOP's new repeal bill would likely leave millions more uninsured, analyses suggest


    WASHINGTON — The latest Republican bid to roll back the Affordable Care Act would likely leave millions of currently insured Americans without health coverage in the coming decades, and strip benefits and protections from millions more, a growing number of independent studies suggest.

    Vice President Mike Pence listens as President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. [Evan Vucci | Associated Press]