1. News

They were standing at a Publix register when her purse fell. Her Derringer fired and hit him.

Vernon Messier, 69, was accidentally shot in the shin Sunday afternoon at a Publix supermarket, 2121 Collier Pkwy. in Land O’ Lakes. [Google]
Published May 6

A shopper who was shot inside a Land O' Lakes Publix supermarket was hit in the shin by a bullet from a gun in his wife's purse.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office initially reported that the victim accidentally shot himself about 2 p.m. Sunday.

But after Publix provided video of the incident, the Sheriff's Office learned that the 69-year-old victim, Vernon Messier, was checking out at the cash register with his wife Lillian when her purse fell from the counter to the ground and the gun apparently discharged.

The video from the Publix at 2121 Collier Pkwy. shows Vernon Messier flinch and drop to the ground. He was hit in the lower right shin.

A hole was found in the side of the purse afterward, the Sheriff's Office said. Lillian Messier, 67, was carrying a two-shot Derringer pistol and had a concealed carry permit, the Sheriff's Office said.

Messier was in stable condition and no criminal charges are expected, the Sheriff's Office said.

On Twitter, Andy Taylor, aide to Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore, said he witnessed the incident.

"It would be really weird to be guy NEXT to him in line at cashier. I wonder what THAT guy is thinking," Taylor wrote. "Hello, I am the guy that was next in line at cashier."

There was no "stampede of people or mass panic," Taylor added, and Publix' staff and managers "did a great job (and got my groceries to next aisle to be rang up, gave me water while waiting to speak)."

Contact Paul Guzzo at or follow @PGuzzoTimes.


  1. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    The fire destroyed one business and damaged others inside a strip mall at the corner of 49th Street South and 1st Avenue South
  2. Frances Werner-Watkins Julie Rinaldi
    News and notes on local businesses
  3. Courtesy of Brightline Brightline's Bright Blue passes by the West Palm Beach Station. The rail line has proposed a route between Orlando and Tampa.
    The woman was pronounced dead at the scene, but her name has not been released.
  4. In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, Super Stock-class raceboats make the turn in Key West Harbor during the first of three days of racing at the Race World Offshore Key West Championships on Nov. 6 in Key West. ROB O'NEAL  |  AP
    The decline of coral reefs is the cause for concern.
  5. Mos Antenor, 42, drives a bulldozer while clearing the road after Hurricane Dorian Mclean's Town, Grand Bahama, Bahamas on Sept. 13. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) RAMON ESPINOSA  |  AP
    The damage estimate comes from a new report by the Inter-American Development Bank.
  6. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, right, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Friday, in the second public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. SUSAN WALSH  |  AP
    Experts on foreign policy said it was ridiculous to think that one person could turn a country “bad.”
  7. President Donald Trump speaks during an event on healthcare prices in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) EVAN VUCCI  |  AP
    After a week of dramatic public hearings, investigators heard late Friday in closed session from State Department official David Holmes, who delivered a firsthand account that puts the president at...
  8. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    Two passengers were injured.
  9. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    Son and father both had weapons during an early-morning argument.
  10. Lykes Gaslight Square Park in downtown Tampa, where a proposal to open a cafe has sparked debate on the role of parks in the city. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Two recent proposals to use public space downtown for private eateries have started a debate about the purpose of parks