ST. PETERSBURG — The president of the Wildwood Heights Neighborhood Association was arrested early Sunday morning, police said, after a tussle at an International House of Pancakes that resulted in a gunshot being fired inside the restaurant.
Carlos Bailey, 38, told police he was accosted by Lillian Baker about 3:37 a.m. at the IHOP, 4199 34th St. S. The dispute between him and the 39-year-old neighborhood president was about money, police said.
Baker was arguing with Bailey near the register, police said, when she struck him and left a bloody scratch over his left eye.
Then police said Baker's companion, Franklin Hall, 49, grabbed Baker's purse, pulled out her Taurus 9mm pistol and pointed it at Bailey's face.
Baker pushed down the gun in Hall's hand, according to police, and it went off. The bullet struck the restaurant floor, then ricocheted into a booth before landing in pieces by the reception desk, police said. No one was injured.
Baker and Hall left the IHOP, but officers pulled their vehicle over at 18th Avenue S and 34th Street. Police said they found the handgun in the glove compartment.
Baker told officers that she had a concealed weapons permit. She said she hit no one and had nothing else to say. She was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of battery. She was released from the county jail on Sunday morning after posting $500 bail. She declined to comment on Tuesday.
Hall told officers that the gun went off accidentally. But police also discovered that Hall, a convicted felon, shouldn't have been handling the weapon in the first place.
Hall was arrested on charges of aggravated assault, throwing a deadly missile within a building and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Hall was freed from jail on Sunday afternoon after posting $25,000 bail.
Police said they found the spent shell casing still lodged inside the gun and that the incident was caught by the restaurant's surveillance cameras.