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Teen shot, killed in Lake Padgett Estates parking lot after party

LAND O'LAKES — The clubhouse at Lake Padgett Estates had always been a safe place.

Older residents would swing through the lounge for a brew and conversation. Young parents brought their children to the swimming pool or the basketball courts. And teenagers would come to play a few games of pool or simply to hang out.

But their sanctuary was breached early Sunday when a 17-year-old boy was shot and killed after a party in the neighborhood, said the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

"Everybody is upset about it," said Rebecca Rafail, who works in the clubhouse's bar. "We're not used to anything like that here. This is the first time something like this has happened."

Sheriff's officials said Dustin Sean White, of 22431 Stillwood Drive, was shot about 2 a.m.

White was shot in the parking lot of the clubhouse at 4533 Savannah Drive, said the Sheriff's Office. The clubhouse was closed, but a group of people from a party at a nearby home had gathered in the parking lot.

As of Sunday afternoon, Pasco deputies were still searching for the shooter and had interviewed a number of witnesses.

"There were some people there at the scene of the shooting," said Kevin Doll, a spokesman with the Sheriff's Office. "I don't really know how many."

White, who recently finished his junior year at Land O'Lakes High School, lived about 3 miles from the clubhouse in a winding, tree-lined neighborhood near East Lake. Vehicles lined both sides of the street for almost two blocks near his home Sunday, as family members and friends gathered to mourn.

Through a friend, White's family said they did not wish to comment.

Across the street, a neighbor somberly watched the crowd assemble at the home from her driveway. Julie Valdez said her 23-year-old son sometimes goes to the clubhouse, usually on Monday nights to play pool with friends.

"People are definitely devastated about this," Valdez said. "(Dustin) is not my kid, but it hits close to home."

Later that afternoon at the clubhouse, club members were talking about the shooting. Some mourners had left flowers under a large oak tree.

Otherwise, it was a normal, quiet day at the club: dozens of people were splashing around in the pool; some were playing racquetball at the far end of the club; others were having a cocktail in the bar.

"This is a tight-knit community — most people have lived over here for at least 15 or 20 years," said Ray Salerno. "Nothing like this has ever happened."

Tony Hall, head of security at the club for the past 15 years, said there have been a few scuffles and shouting matches in his time there. The usual sort of stuff. But no one had ever pulled out a gun.

"It's a shame," Hall said. "This is an oddity. People come here to have fun."

Joel Anderson can be reached at joelanderson@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6120.

Teen shot, killed in Lake Padgett Estates parking lot after party 06/14/09 [Last modified: Sunday, June 14, 2009 8:18pm]
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