1. News

Sheriff: Dunedin man shot, killed family dog, threatened family

David Wheeler, 71, faces two counts of aggravated assault, one count of animal cruelty and one count of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
Published Jul. 5, 2018

DUNEDIN — A 71-year-old man was arrested Thursday after the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said he shot and killed the family dog, threatened to shoot his wife and son and then pointed a handgun at a deputy.

David Wheeler faces two counts of domestic aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against a law enforcement officer and one count of animal cruelty.

Deputies gave this account of Wednesday's incident: Just before 6 p.m., deputies were sent to a home on the 1000 block of Suemar Road after a caller said they heard arguing and gunfire from the residence there. The deputies who arrived said they heard a man yelling inside.

First, deputies asked David Wheeler's wife and son to leave the residence. Barbara Wheeler, 68, and son, Ryan Wheeler, 32, left the home and told deputies that inside the residence, David Wheeler was armed and had fatally shot their dog.

The wife also told deputies her husband threatened to kill her and pointed a .45-caliber handgun at her. When the son stepped in to intervene, Ryan Wheeler told deputies, his father turned the gun on him and also threatened to shoot himself.

Deputies were trying to talk to David Wheeler when they said they saw him point a handgun through the front window at a deputy outside. After a 9½-hour standoff, deputies said, they persuaded him to surrender about 3:35 a.m. He was then arrested.

David Wheeler was taken to the Pinellas County Jail, where he was being held Thursday without bail. He was to undergo a mental health evaluation, the Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies also said they seized several rifles, shotguns and handguns from the home. The investigation continues.

Contact Justin Trombly at Follow @JustinTrombly.


  1. Firemen and ambulance attendants remove a body from the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where an explosion ripped the structure during services Sept.15,1963 . Associated Press
    Fifty-six years ago, a bomb blew apart the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, killing four girls and injuring dozens more.
  2. Danielle Harris of Pinellas Park leans against a large photo of Terri Schiavo and her mother, Mary Schindler, during a vigil outside the Woodside Hospice Villas in 2003. Associated Press
    “Terri Schiavo is now a martyr,” one then-state representative said upon learning of her death.
  3. 5 hours ago• Pasco
    The Port Richey Citizen's Advisory Committee recently installed a mini library at the Mallett Fishing Pier. The box has a painting that depicts the stilt houses off the Port Richey coast, Johnny Cash (who was known to have loved the city and visited often), as well as dolphins playing. This is the second mini library the committee has erected, with the first installed at City Hall, next to the dog park. Pictured, from left: Blaine Lee, builder of the mini library; City Council member Jennie Sorrell (committee member), Laurie (committee member) and Jeff Simpson, Judi Cain (artist), Interim City Council member Angel Nally (committee member) and Tom Kinsella (committee member). Claudia Smith
    News and notes about your neighbors
  4. 5 hours ago• Hernando
    Members of the Live Oak Conservatory Pre-K 1 Combo Class rest after their first session of tap, jazz and ballet. The class includes children from 18 months to 5 years old. The conservatory kicked off its second year in August, offering performing arts classes for children and adults. The Live Oak Theatre Company is a nonprofit repertory company, located at the Carol and Frank Morsani Center for the Arts in Brooksville. Visit Jane Russell Geddings
    News and notes about your neighbors
  5. Check for the latest breaking news and updates.
    Charges in the accident are pending.
  6. Florida Supreme Court Justices Barbara Lagoa, left, and Robert Luck, right, were appointed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta by President Trump. Florida Supreme Court
    Ok losers, who needs access to our state politicians, anyway?
  7. The Dade City Monarch Butterfly Festival will be Oct. 12 in Hibiscus Park. AP
    News and notes from Pasco County
  8. Bubba's 33 recently broke ground on its first restaurant in Florida, which will open in Wesley Chapel in December. Pictured, left to right: Experience Florida's Sports Coast (Tourism) Director Adam Thomas, Bubba's 33 marketing director Crista Demers-Dean, Bubba's 33 managing partner Jeff Dean, Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore and North Tampa Bay Chamber CEO Hope Allen. Andy Taylor
    News and notes on local businesses
  9. Taylor Bland-Ball, 22, posted this photo and open letter to Judge Thomas Palermo to her Instagram account on September 10, the day after she lost custody of her 4-year-old son Noah McAdams. The boy's parents wanted to treat his leukemia with natural health care remedies instead of chemotherapy. [Instagram] ANASTASIA DAWSON  |  Instagram
    The couple refused chemotherapy for their son, instead seeking alternative treatments including dietary plans, alkaline water and THC and CBD oil treatments
  10. Mos Antenor, 42, drives a bulldozer while clearing the road after Hurricane Dorian Mclean's Town, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Friday Sept. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) RAMON ESPINOSA  |  AP
    Threatening to exacerbate islands’ problems, Humberto’s rains were falling on Abaco island.