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Traffic incident erupts into gunfire at Tarpon Springs gas station

TARPON SPRINGS —Nichole Hill was inside the Circle K calling 911 when she heard the gunshot on Sunday night.

She saw her boyfriend, Pete Mastrovasilis, running from the gunman, but then was afraid to look.

What began as a leisurely motorcycle ride for the couple and escalated to road rage, nearly ended in tragedy. "I thought I lost my boyfriend," Hill said Monday.

The gunshot was the culmination of a terrifying sequence of events for Hill and Mastrovasilis — from tire-bump to fistfight to gunshot, then finally to an arrest.

Arrested was David Bowman, 34, of 85 S Canal Drive, Palm Harbor, on charges of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, carrying a concealed weapon, using a firearm while under the influence, simple battery and domestic battery from an incident earlier in the evening. He remained in the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $30,750 bail Monday evening.

"It definitely changed our lives," Hill said.

According to police, Bowman's troubles began about 7:15 p.m. Sunday when he hit his girlfriend, Alicia Eicher, during an argument in his car in the parking lot of the Boat Club on Beckett Way.

Eicher got out of the car and walked to a nearby gas station, police said, as Bowman drove away.

About 8 p.m., police said, Bowman bumped Mastrovasilis and Hill from behind with his white Oldsmobile as they rode Mastrovasilis' motorcycle on U.S. 19 N.

Mastrovasilis and Bowman began yelling at each other and, police said, Bowman pulled a .38-caliber semiautomatic handgun from his glove box and pointed it at the couple.

"I'll teach you," he said, according to authorities.

Mastrovasilis and Hill headed east on Tarpon Avenue, and Bowman met them in a nearby Circle K gas station, 1001 E Tarpon Ave., according to police.

Bowman stuck the handgun into his waistband, police said. The two began to scuffle and after Mastrovasilis landed a punch and knocked Bowman to the ground, Bowman again pulled out the gun, police said.

"I got him pretty good," Mastrovasilis said. "When I gave him an uppercut, he fell backwards and had a chance to grab his gun."

Mastrovasilis ran as Bowman shot, police said, and the bullet shattered a gas station window. Hill was inside with the cashier calling 911.

Bowman was arrested by Tarpon Springs police without incident a short time later.

Bowman's only other arrest in Florida was on a DUI charge in 2006, according to Florida criminal records.

Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Brian Spegele can be reached at bspegele@sptimes.com.

Traffic incident erupts into gunfire at Tarpon Springs gas station 08/03/09 [Last modified: Monday, August 3, 2009 8:29pm]
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