Advertisement
  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 pguzzo@tampabay.com or follow @PGuzzoTimes.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. The main exhibit center at the Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa once stirred the imagination with dinosaurs and stars. Now, it's empty, but on the verge of rebirth as a movie studio.
    The County Commission has set aside $2 million for the project as the Film Commission studies the demand for it.
  2. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the East Room of the White House, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) PATRICK SEMANSKY  |  AP
    Hunter Biden worked for a Ukrainian gas company.
  3. Reclaimed water rates are increasing 6 percent in St. Petersburg.
    Potable, waste and reclaimed water fees will all increase. So will garbage fees, though the stormwater fee will drop for some.
  4. Joshua Russell, 26, faces a charge of aggravated manslaughter, according to deputies. Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
    A dose of kratom caused the caretaker to fall asleep for hours inside the hot car with the disabled man in the back seat, investigators said.
  5. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announces federal grants Friday that will equip at least 600 officers with body cameras. CHARLIE FRAGO  |  Charlie Frago
    Mayor Jane Castor announces a nearly $600,000 Department of Justice grant Friday.
  6. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri spoke Friday about a child protection investigator who was arrested on charges of falsifying reports. JOSH SOLOMON  |  Josh Solomon
    It’s the second time in two years a Pinellas child protection investigator has faced falsification charges.
  7. Stay with tampabay.com for the latest news and updates. Times
    The Challenger K-8 student didn’t have access to a gun, deputies said.
  8. Life changed for Chad Cagley with the birth of daughter Aaliyah, now 3. Cagley was killed Monday when a drunk driver slammed into the back of his motorcycle on Interstate 75, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. FAMILY PHOTO  |  Courtesy Stephanie Coomes
    The drunk driver who ran into Chad Cagley was caught after a witness followed him, troopers said.
  9. Former Tarpon Springs police Officer Steven Bergren, seen in this 2012 picture with his K-9 partner Dobies Jr. Bergren resigned before he could be fired by the Tarpon Springs Police Department for threatening a mass shooting. Bergren said he was joking. Tampa Bay Times
    The detective said he was joking. The Tarpon Springs Police Department said it would have fired him had he not resigned.
  10. A student holds a sign while participating in a "Global Climate Strike" at the Experiential School of Greensboro in Greensboro, N.C., on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. Across the globe, hundreds of thousands of young people took the streets Friday to demand that leaders tackle climate change in the run-up to a U.N. summit. KHADEJEH NIKOUYEH/NEWS & RECORD  |  AP
    With a coastline stretching 1,350 miles, Florida faces some of the gravest risks from rising ocean levels.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement