A 55-year-old New Port Richey man was arrested this week and charged with murder in connection to the death of a man he claimed he “executed,” according to an arrest report from the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
At 7 p.m. on Nov. 2, 2022, Eric Nelson Brown was in his neighborhood in the 12000 block of Eola Avenue in New Port Richey when he saw a man for whom he’d reportedly been searching. .
Brown grabbed a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun and, according to what deputies say he told them, pointed the gun at the man from about 40 feet away and ordered him to kneel on the ground. Brown walked closer to the man, stopped a short distance from him and shot him three times, striking him “in the right hand, left leg near the knee and in the back near his left shoulder blade.”
After shooting the man, Brown hit the man in the head multiple times with an aluminum baseball bat, according to the report. The Pasco Sheriff’s Office did not identify the man.
Brown then forced the man into the bed of his 2000 Chevrolet Silverado, saying he was taking him to the Sheriff’s Office, according to the report. The man — who deputies said was badly injured — escaped from the truck and ran to a home in the 10000 block of Alsip Street.
Brown followed the man, who had gone inside the home. According to the report, two residents were there and observed Brown hit the “helpless” man, who had collapsed on the floor, in the head with a bat. Brown left the home when the residents said they were calling 911, according to the arrest report.
Brown accused the man of stealing about $8,000 worth of tools from him and also claimed the man had previously tried to kill him by spiking his soda with fentanyl, deputies said. Brown claimed that as a result, he feared for his life.
However, according to the arrest report, two days after the man was shot and beaten, two witnesses told a Pasco detective they’d heard Brown brag that he “executed” the man. Another witness told investigators that Brown said he was looking for the man because of the theft and was going to “shoot and kill him.”
Pasco Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Amanda Hunter said in an email to the Times the man later died from his injuries. An autopsy by the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner’s Office listed the cause of death as gunshot wounds and blunt force trauma.
Hunter said the investigation took months because of “inconsistencies in statements by several parties, including the suspect.”
Brown was booked into the Pasco County Jail after his arrest Monday and is being held without bond, jail records show.