1. Pinellas

Man pulls boxcutter on good Samaritan, who shoots him, police say

Published Apr. 8

Click here to read this story in Spanish.

LARGO — Many things had to go wrong for the bizarre chain of events to break out Sunday night on a stretch of Walsingham Road.

First, a car crash that may or may not have happened. Then, a good Samaritan who perhaps got a little too involved. And finally, a box cutter-versus-gun faceoff that landed one man in the hospital and another in police custody.

Throw in a new victim's rights law that is already confusing but definitely doesn't have guidance for when there's not a clear victim, and Largo police have got a true weird Florida case on their hands.

"In my experience, that is extremely unusual to have something devolve that quickly into something so serious," police spokesman Lt. Randall Chaney said during a news conference Monday.

The incident started about 8 p.m., when Largo officers responded to reports of a possible hit and run crash in the 11000 block of Walsingham Road, police said. Two drivers saw a man down in the road and, assuming he had been hit, pulled over to help. No witnesses saw a crash happen, and authorities have gone back and forth on whether the man has injuries consistent with being hit by a car.

Still, the witnesses tried to help him and urged him to stay put until medical attention arrived, police said. Instead, the man, who used a walker to tote around his possessions, took his stuff and walked away. The witnesses followed him, even as the man "made it very clear" he wanted to leave, police said in a news release.

The man grew angry and pulled out a box cutter. He walked up to one of the witnesses "in a threatening manner," police said. They were standing close enough to where the witness told police he could hear the "click click click" of the box cutter, spokesman Chaney said. The witness pulled a handgun and shot the man once in the leg. The witness then went to help the man and applied a tourniquet as paramedics arrived.

They took the man to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, where he underwent surgery. He was in the intensive care unit as of Monday afternoon, Chaney said.

Detectives interviewed the shooter then released him. Chaney did not say what kind of gun the man used or if he was licensed to carry it. They have not been able to interview the other man yet because of his medical condition. Witnesses told police they saw a white Jeep or silver SUV that may have been involved in the possible crash.

Detectives must gather more information before deciding whether to arrest anyone involved, Chaney said. They also declined to name either man, citing Marsy's Law, an amendment to the Florida Constitution passed by voters in November that extends broad protections to crime victims.

"Right now, we're not sure who might be a victim and who might be a suspect," Chaney said.

The spokesman added that he wouldn't recommend following someone who has made it clear they want to leave.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with him initially going up to him and asking,'Hey are you okay? Are you all right?' and trying to do an assessment," Chaney said. "We probably would not urge people to follow and badger a person under these circumstances ... By continuing to follow him, it may have exacerbated the situation."

Chaney asked that anyone with information contact the police department at (727) 587-6730.

Contact Kathryn Varn at or (727) 893-8913. Follow @kathrynvarn.


  1. In December 2017, two masked motorcycle gang members were accused of assassinating Paul Anderson, 44,  president of the Cross Bayou chapter of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club while his pickup was stopped at a traffic light in Pasco County. [Pasco County Sheriffs Office]
    Evidence from the federal trial of two members of the 69′ers Motorcycle Club offers a rare glimpse of the world of outlaw biker gangs.
  2. Beau, Vivi, Peter and Meredith are available for adoption at Tampa Bay area shelters. Times
    Tampa Bay area shelter pets
  3. Candice Anderson, left, and Alsace Walentine, co-owners of Tombolo Books, rearrange books as attendees of the Times Festival of Reading leave the University Student Center behind them. [Jack Evans | Times]
    The shop plans to open next to Black Crow on First Ave. S before the new year.
  4. An opened capsule containing Kratom. The Clearwater City Council was confronted by dozens of concerned citizens at a recent meeting who urged them not to ban the herbal supplement. Times
    “Our recommendation right now is, we don’t think there’s a need to regulate it.”
  5. Damian J. Fernandez, center, is introduced Monday as the new president of Eckerd College. He will succeed longtime president Donald R. Eastman III on July 1. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Damian Fernandez, 62, will succeed president Donald R. Eastman III, who steps down June 30 after leading the school for 19 years.
  6. Bicyclist Steven Weldon was struck by a white sedan while pedaling along the Pinellas Trail earlier this month. St. Petersburg Police Department
    Steven Weldon could have exercised more caution, according to St. Petersburg Police, but won’t face any charges.
  7. An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that two-thirds of Medicare Part D beneficiaries, or about 9 million people who don’t receive low-income subsidies, will see their monthly premium increase for next year if they stay in their current plan. To sort through your options, visit the Times' Medicare guide at or contact Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders, a state program commonly known as SHINE. Contact them at 1-800-963-5337 or MICHELE MILLER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    About 9 million people with Medicare Part D plans will see higher premiums if they don’t make a change before Dec. 7, a new study says.
  8. Much work has been completed on the Selmon Extension project, but we still have a way to go before the construction and ongoing detours on Gandy Boulevard end by the projected fall 2020 completion date. MONIQUE WELCH  |  Monique Welch | Times
    The ongoing project along Gandy Boulevard began in February but still has a lot of work left before its projected fall 2020 completion date.
  9. Dusty Hill (left) and Billy Gibbons (right) from ZZ Top perform prior to Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers at the St. Pete Times Forum in 2010. A ZZ Top concert in 2018 was the subject of a scathing Clearwater city audit of the Parks and Recreation Special Events division. KEVIN HOWE  |  Times archives
    The Parks and Recreation Department failed to keep sales receipts, invoices and other records of a 2018 concert.
  10. Frank Peterman Jr. (left) and Rene Flowers (right) are vying for the Pinellas County Commission District 7 seat. Peterman is a Baptist preacher and former St. Petersburg City Council member, state representative and Department of Juvenile Justice secretary. Flowers is a Pinellas County School Board member who also spent two terms on the City Council. [Photos courtesy Frank Peterman and Rene Flowers]
    School Board member Rene Flowers and former lawmaker Frank Peterman Jr. have filed to run. Both also spent time on the St. Petersburg City Council.