The Florida Highway Patrol has cleared a state trooper who shot a man in a cemetery last September, authorities said Friday.
The decision comes several months after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which also investigated the incident, cleared trooper Daniel Cole of wrongdoing.
On Sept. 10, Clifford F. Work, 48, who owns the Royal Palm North Cemetery, was asleep inside a maintenance shed on the property along Gandy Boulevard when Cole, accompanied by two Pinellas Park police officers, knocked at the door about 6 a.m., according to a report.
Cole had tracked a signal from a stolen motorcycle, which led him to the shed.
Confused and fearing for his safety, Work picked up a handgun before opening the door, the report stated. Cole then fired 15 shots from a rifle. One round pierced Work's thigh. He was taken to Bayfront Medical Center and has since been released.
Work never fired his gun. He told investigators he knew nothing about the $60,000 custom Suzuki that authorities recovered behind the shed.
A 13-year patrol employee, Cole has been the subject of 10 internal affairs investigations.
In 2001, Cole shot a man in the hand during a traffic stop when the man made a movement toward Cole after ignoring commands to show his hands. The man turned out to be a Christian minister who was unarmed and was driving erratically after getting lost. He said he was trying to show the trooper his wallet when he was shot.
Last year, Cole was investigated after he used a Taser to subdue a handcuffed woman, who fell and hit her head. She fell into a coma and suffered debilitating brain damage.
Cole was cleared in both cases.