Sunday, March 18, 2018


Josh Solomon, Times staff writer

Josh Solomon, Times staff writer

Josh Solomon covers the police and court beats in Pasco and Hernando counties for the Tampa Bay Times. Before joining the Times in 2014, Josh graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. He grew up in northern New Jersey.

Tarpon Springs police officer Charles Kondek was killed in the line of duty.

In court, Officer Charles Kondek’s family hears his last moments

LARGO — Those who knew Tarpon Springs police Officer Charles Kondek were forced to relive his last moments in a courtroom on Thursday.Kondek was shot and killed on Dec. 21, 2014 by a stolen gun fired by Marco Antonio Parilla Jr. Now a jury must...
Published: 03/15/18
Updated: 03/16/18
Former FBI agent, federal prosecutor and Democratic candidate Chris Hunter (left) will challenge six-term Republican Congressman Gus Bilirakis for District 12, which encompasses Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough Counties. [Times composite]

The Daystarter: Romano on Bilirakis’ big challenge; cop-killer sentencing set to start; legal dispute over homeless and trespassing; what’s next for Toys R Us?

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• It’ll start to warm up Thursday morning as the...
Published: 03/15/18
St. Petersburg's North Shore Park was closed to swimmers in September 2016 after an estimated 70 million gallons of partially treated sewage had been dumped into the waters of Tampa Bay from Hurricane Hermine. It was just the start of a sewage crisis that would see the city spill up to 1 billion gallons of waste, 200 million of which ended up in the bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]

St. Petersburg’s latest sewage mystery is quite colorful

ST. PETERSBURG — First it was red, then green and black, then red and green again. For more than a month, something unusually colorful has been flowing into the Northeast wastewater plant.Workers at an off-site pump station first noticed the...
Published: 03/14/18
Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R- Land O' Lakes and Florida Senate President Joe Negron, R- Stuart, talk on the floor of the House during a joint session of the Florida Legislature in January. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

The Daystarter: Students staging walkout for Parkland; Legislative winners and losers; remembering Stephen Hawking; Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery service

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• Our sunny but cool streak continues today. The...
Published: 03/14/18
Bruce William Joseph, 58, was arrested on charges of felony aggravated stalking and misdemeanor charges of criminal use of personal identification and sexual cyber harassment, according to Largo police. He is accused of cyberstalking and harrasing an ex-girlfriend after their break-up last year. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]

Police: Man, 57, cyberstalked 19-year-old he met at high school

LARGO — The two met in 2015 during a school trip, police said.She was a high school student. He was a chaperone — and the husband of an administrator at Calvary Christian High School in Clearwater.The pair waited until she graduated and...
Published: 03/13/18
Major League Baseball player Oscar Mercado holds an American flag after taking the oath of allegiance at a naturalization ceremony held Monday at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Tampa. Mercado, a Colombia native, lives in Tampa and played at Gaither High School and is now with the St. Louis Cardinals. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA   |   Times]

The Daystarter: Tarpon cop killer to claim brain damage; what’s the future of the flu?; reports link Bucs to Eagles free-agent DT; investigation into ex-Rays physician reopens

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• Expect sunny but cool weather today, according...
Published: 03/13/18
St. Petersburg Dr. Michael Reilly was the Tampa Bay Rays' team physician for two decades until he was fired in January after a woman accused him of sexual abuse and inapropriate behavior in a YoutTube video. St. Petersburg police said they investigated the allegations and closed the case, but recently reopened the inquiry. [Times (2016)]

St. Pete police reopen inquiry into ex-Rays doctor Michael Reilly

ST. PETERSBURG — The investigation into ex-Tampa Bay Rays physician Dr. Michael Reilly was reopened late last week after police said the woman who complained of sexual abuse and inappropriate behavior came forward with new information.Police...
Published: 03/12/18
A vehicle plunged into the water at Wesley Chapel District Park at 7727 Boyette Road on Monday evening with three people inside, according to Pasco Fire Rescue. Two made it out of the vehicle but the 22-year-old driver who suffered a seizure died as a result of the incident, officials said. [Pasco Fire Rescue]

Driver, 22, has seizure, then dies after car ends up underwater

WESLEY CHAPEL — A 22-year-old Lutz man died after suffering a seizure that caused him to drive a car into a pond on Monday evening, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.The 2002 Hyundai Sonata crashed into a pond at Wesley Chapel...
Published: 03/12/18
Steven Irizarry Marin, 26, was arrested on a charge of second-degree murder in connection with the Feb. 14 shooting death of a 14-year-old boy, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. [Pasco County Sheriff's Office]

Pasco deputies arrest man, 26, in shooting death of 14-year-old boy

Pasco County sheriff’s deputies on Monday arrested a 26-year-old man who they said fired a gun into a car last month, killing a teenage passenger.Steven Irizarry Marin, of Port Richey, faces a charge of second-degree murder for the Feb. 14...
Published: 03/12/18
Lamonte or Lamont Stephens, 31, of St. Petersburg, faces charges of resisting an officer with violence, possession of marijuana, burglary and violation of probation. He was held Monday in the Pinellas County jail in lieu of $17,650 bail. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]

St. Petersburg police investigate officers’ actions after Taser use

ST. PETERSBURG — Police opened an investigation into officers’ use of force after a video posted to social media showed three St. Petersburg police officers using an electroshock device on a man who was on the ground.Officers and an ambulance...
Published: 03/12/18