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Police: Drugs led to man's shooting

Waiting for her chicken dinner to thaw, Rose Floener had settled into a relaxing game of solitaire Monday when the quiet of her family room was shattered by a sound seldom heard in her Shore Acres neighborhood.

"It was rapid fire _ boom, boom, boom, boom," said Mrs. Floener, 76, a retired Burdines saleswoman. "This is really something out of the ordinary for us."

She and her husband, Jerry, 80, ran outside and saw a man lying by the front door across the street.

Jeff McGee, 36, had been shot twice by resident Herbert Wright in what St. Petersburg police described as an argument over drugs.

Rick Stelljes, police spokesman, said detectives also are investigating whether Wright, 23, shot in self-defense.

McGee was in critical condition at Bayfront Medical Center. Wright, a pharmacy technician, was arrested and charged Monday night with possession of powder cocaine and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine after police said they found drugs in his car. Wright is being held in the Pinellas County Jail on $30,000 bail.

The events began to unfold at 3:55 p.m. at 4430 Huntington St. NE, where Wright lived with two children and his pregnant girlfriend.

McGee, who had done some home repair work for Wright, went to the door and asked Wright whether he had any other jobs for him, police said.

"Wright told him he didn't have any work," said Stelljes, the police spokesman. "McGee asked to front him some money. Wright refused. Next thing you know McGee pulled a gun on Wright."

It's not clear what happened next, but somehow McGee was shot twice in the upper body, police said.

Some residents said they saw a green truck speeding away from the scene after the shooting. Others said they saw Wright exit his house and place items in his car trunk after the shooting. Investigators said they later found cocaine in the car. A black gun was on the walkway near the front door.

"He wanted money for work that wasn't done," Wright's 26-year-old sister, Tara Wright, said of McGee after the shooting. "Herb was like, "After you do the work, we'll pay you.' "

McGee, a St. Petersburg resident, has an arrest record that includes drunken driving, robbery and battery charges.

Everett Corriero, 83, was in a yard across the street, his back to Wright's house, when the shots were fired.

Police said a bullet might have pierced the front tire of his parked Delta 88 because the tire was flat.

"This is scary," said Corriero's daughter, Rita Lambert. "There's so much going on in the world today."

_ Times researcher Cathy Wos contributed to this report.