Monday, December 18, 2017
Public safety

Man seriously injured in Holiday chiropractic clinic shooting

HOLIDAY — A 33-year-old man was seriously injured in a shooting Monday morning inside a chiropractor's office.

Chiropractor Lenny Linardos is being called a "person of interest" in the shooting at West Coast Spine and Injury Center, which has several locations across Tampa Bay.

Pasco sheriff's officials say Jaime Velez went to the U.S. 19 clinic at about 11 a.m. and walked into Linardos' private office. The two men got into "some type of confrontation," Pasco sheriff's spokeswoman Melanie Snow said.

Velez, Linardos and a nurse were the only people in the clinic at the time, though it was open for business. The nurse heard multiple gunshots but did not witness the shooting, Snow said.

Snow would not say whether Linardos is believed to be the shooter but said investigators were questioning him Monday.

The Sheriff's Office got a 911 call from a nearby business and another from inside the clinic.

Snow did not say where on his body Velez was shot but said he's unable to speak and described his condition as "serious to critical."

Detectives were still trying to determine if Linardos and Velez knew each other, Snow said. The two are listed as friends on Facebook. Photos on the site show Velez posing between a BMW and Lexus in the clinic's parking lot.

Robert Anderson, who identified himself as a patient and friend of Linardos' for the last 15 years, described him as a calm and collected, voice-of-reason-type man.

"I've never seen him get mad," Anderson said outside the clinic Monday afternoon. "And I've seen people get right up in his face and yell at him."

Court records paint Linardos differently.

He was arrested in Pinellas County in 1994 on a charge of simple domestic battery and in 1995 on spouse battery. However, neither of those arrests appear in his practitioner profile on the Florida Department of Health website. The profile does list a 1989 disorderly conduct arrest and an arrest in 1990 on charges of driving with a suspended license and providing false information to an officer.

Records show Linardos was arrested in Pasco County in January 2012 and charged with failing to secure workers compensation coverage. He has a suspended driver's license after failing to pay a traffic fine.

He also ran 1-877-ASK-KOBY, a lawyer-referral service, which he used to steer patients to his chain of chiropractic clinics, according to a 2007 article in the Tampa Tribune.

In 2010, he reported that the clinic on U.S. 19 was hit by thieves who stole more than $15,000 in televisions, computers, scales and other equipment. The computers contained medical information for more than 5,000 patients, he told deputies.

Linardos has been sued a handful of times in Pasco since 2006 over financial disputes and taxes. His home, at 734 Bayshore Drive in Tarpon Springs, went into foreclosure two years ago and the IRS has a lien against him for more than $40,000 in unpaid taxes.

Velez, according to records, was fresh out of the New York State Prison system. He was first arrested in 1999 for selling a controlled substance, attempted sale of a controlled substance and attempted second-degree robbery. He was most recently placed on parole in 2009 after a five-year sentence for attempted second-degree robbery.

In a picture from January on his Facebook page, Velez is shown kissing the belly of an apparently pregnant woman. In the caption, he wrote about being a "right man … no more games, lies & deceit. Family first."

In the comments section below the photo is a possible clue to any conflict between the men. Early Monday morning, Linardos wrote: "Haha you just lied"

Contact Alex Orlando at [email protected] or (727) 869-6247.

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