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Crime more than a battle of words

Published Oct. 6, 2005

Lobbyist Leo Tomeu no doubt will have painful reminders of a legislative session filled with talk of crime.

Tomeu, who is from Miami Beach, has more than rhetoric to remind him of the state's high crime rate.

Shortly after midnight Friday, Tomeu, 30, walked out of Albertsons on the Apalachee Parkway, where he had gone to get a pack of cigarettes. As he returned to his car, he found two young men walking toward him.

One of the two pointed a gun at his head. The two demanded all his money and threatened to kill him, Tomeu said.

"I knew going into this thing they were not going to let me walk away with just giving them money," Tomeu recalled Friday night.

He handed over his wallet. It contained about $80, which made them mad, Tomeu said.

Tomeu said he was on his knees, about to get up, when one of the men shot him, striking him in the buttocks.

He started to run back into Albertsons. "What really went through my mind was that if I collapse, I want to collapse in a public place and not in the parking lot."

He went inside and said he had been shot. "At that point I felt the blood running down my leg. The employees were great."

About 15 minutes after the shooting, Tallahassee police saw two teenagers in a stolen car matching the description provided by witnesses at the grocery store.

Police spokeswoman Rhonda Scott said the teenagers bolted from the car and ran, but were tracked with the help of the department's new K-9, Mac.

The teenagers, 15 and 16, were taken to the Leon County Juvenile Detention Center. Tomeu was treated at Tallahassee Regional Memorial Hospital and released.

Tomeu works with Patti Cerra, a lobbyist for Metropolitan Dade County and businesses. She said Tomeu recently joined her and was planning to register as a lobbyist Monday. He flew back to Miami on Friday, but insists on returning to work in Tallahassee next week, Cerra said.

Cerra said the incident was scary, considering that many government employees working long hours will stop by the store, a few miles from the Capitol.

Asked why he thought the youth shot him, Tomeu said, "I have to believe that a lot of it is just for pure kicks. They got everything they wanted."

Except one thing.

"They missed my Rolex."