Several Pinellas County parks were closed Tuesday due to rough surf and rip currents from Tropical Storm Debby. County officials closed Fort De Soto Park, south of St. Petersburg; Sawgrass Lake Park, in St. Petersburg; Sand Key Park, in Clearwater; and Fred Howard Park, in Tarpon Springs. Police allowed visitors onto the sands at Clearwater Beach but not in the water Tuesday due to swirling waves. Bayside Park, a beach on the Intracoastal Waterway side of Sand Key, was closed but reopened Tuesday morning.
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Free sand; bring your own bags
People in need of sandbags can obtain the sand for free at Clearwater's Public Works Complex, 1650 N Arcturas Ave., off Hercules Avenue and Sherwood Street. They'll need to bring their own bags, as the city doesn't have them available. Bags can be purchased at most home improvement stores. Self-serve sand is located outside the fence on Arcturas Avenue so people can fill their own bags 24 hours a day. Sand will be available as long as supplies last. People are asked to cover the sand back up after filling their bags.
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Shooting suspect sought by police
Police were searching for a Clearwater man they say fired a gun at a vehicle carrying three women and two children Tuesday afternoon. Clearwater police spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts said Jerry Phillips, 18, shot at the vehicle as it was leaving the 1500 block of Sherwood Street off N Highland Avenue. Nobody was injured in the shooting, which took place shortly after 1 p.m. Watts said Phillips is known to the victims and that the incident was "the result of an ongoing feud." Phillips remains at large. Police are seeking to arrest him on charges of aggravated assault. He was arrested twice earlier this year on charges including resisting an officer with violence and possession of crack cocaine.
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Man shot in back seriously injured
Clearwater police were investigating a shooting that occurred about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, reportedly in the area of S Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Kingsley Street, near Ross Norton Park. Police said a man was shot in the back, and an acquaintance drove him to Morton Plant Hospital for medical treatment. He was seriously wounded and was airlifted to Bayfront Medical Center's trauma unit. Police had identified a suspect and were searching for him. A neighbor at the location reported hearing four shots fired in the street.