Saturday, February 24, 2018
Public safety

Teen shot at when she interrupts burglars in her Clearwater home

CLEARWATER — On Friday night, there was a bullet hole in the living room carpet of the Byrnes family's Ridgewood Street home.

Hours earlier, 16-year-old Lyndsey was returning home from an afternoon of volunteering when she heard footsteps upstairs. The Clearwater High School student, who plays golf and earns straight A's, looked up and saw the barrel of a gun.

"A guy shot at me and I saw the carpet fly up," she said Friday evening, surrounded by extended family. "I ran as fast as I could to a friend's across the street."

The burglars — Clearwater police said they were three boys — ran back upstairs, jumped out a bedroom window and took off on bikes.

Witnesses who saw them provided police with descriptions and officers later stopped a boy on Highland Avenue who was a match. The boy was arrested on an armed burglary charge. Police did not release his name or age Friday night.

The two other burglars remained at large Friday night. Police did not provide detailed descriptions of them.

Police said two guns, a portable DVD player and jewelry were stolen from the home, which is north of Drew Street between Highland Avenue and Keene Road.

Clearwater spokeswoman Joelle Castelli said the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and Clearwater detectives were investigating two other burglaries Friday that could be related.

Meanwhile, Lyndsey and her family felt a mix of anger and relief.

"It's the most terrifying thing in the world," said her mother, Tracy Byrnes, 54. "It's not every day your daughter gets shot at. We're just happy she's okay."

Tracy Byrnes said the family will be installing a security system and will no longer allow Lyndsey to come home alone.

Tracy Byrnes said the burglars busted through a sliding glass door, shut the family dog, Jake, in a bedroom and trashed the upstairs before Lyndsey got home.

Lyndsey, who wants to study at USF to be an orthodontist, said she cried after the shooting, but had calmed down by late Friday night.

"I feel like I'm going to be cautious everywhere from now on," she said. "I was freaking out earlier. It all happened so fast."

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