Dear Readers,

The coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread disruption to the lives of everyone in Tampa Bay and to so many businesses in our community. Here at the Tampa Bay Times, we continue to provide free, up-to-date information at as a public service. But we need your help. Please consider supporting us by subscribing or donating, and by sharing our work. Thank you.

  1. News

Naked man accused of running through golf course, fleeing from Pasco deputies

HOLIDAY — Abraham Luna did it for shock value. He said it's the best way to go into a fight. He took off his clothes.

"When two men are going to fight," he said, "the one that's naked usually wins."

Luna, who said he was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2007, said he doesn't remember much from Monday night or Tuesday morning, but authorities say he went on a tear through a golf course, assaulted employees at a Holiday 7-Eleven, led deputies on a high-speed chase through on-coming traffic lanes on U.S. 19 and sideswiped a patrol cruiser before he was arrested.

• • •

Tarpon Springs police first received a call about 7 p.m. Monday, reporting a man running naked through the Tarpon Springs Golf Course at 1310 South Pinellas Ave. The man, who was wearing only construction boots, slipped away.

Then about 4 a.m. Tuesday, a Tarpon Springs officer tried to pull over a white van with a temporary tag that was speeding on U.S. 19, authorities said. The van kept going. Police called off the pursuit when the van entered Pasco County.

A few minutes later, Luna stopped at the 7-Eleven at 1324 U.S. 19, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said.

He punched one employee in the face and scratched the employee's arms with his fingernails, the report states. The employees chased him out of the store and locked the doors. Luna got in his GMC Savana van and wheeled it toward the doors, stopping 5 feet from the entrance, the report states.

He got out and tried to open one of the employee's cars but couldn't.

Luna drove off with his headlights off, reaching speeds of 80 mph, at times driving into oncoming traffic, authorities said. Deputies began a pursuit and blocked roads. After the van sideswiped a patrol car, deputies stopped the van near U.S. 19 and Moog Road about 4:30 a.m.

Luna, 30, fled from the van, and one of the deputies jolted him with a Taser before he was captured, the Sheriff's Office said. No injuries were reported.

Luna, of Tarpon Springs was charged with attempted auto burglary, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, reckless driving, aggravated fleeing to elude, driving while license revoked, resisting without violence and violation of probation. He remains at the Land O'Lakes jail.

• • •

Luna sat on the other side of a glass partition for an interview Tuesday afternoon at the jail. His hair was shaved down to the scalp. He wore only a gray shirt that hung down to his knees. Orange letters on the chest read "MEDICAL WING," where he had been placed for observation.

He told reporters he was the one in the 7-Eleven and driving his van the wrong way on U.S. 19. But he denied being the naked man in the golf course, half a mile from his house.

Police disagree.

"The identity of the naked male was not confirmed last night, however, based on the circumstances, it would seem to reason this naked man was the same as the naked man later," said Tarpon Springs police Sgt. Michael Trill.

Luna said he flew into a rage after hearing the 7-Eleven employees snickering. He said he thought they were laughing about the death of his brother, Giovanni Luna, 28, who he said was shot to death by gang members two days earlier at their Tarpon Springs home.

Only Giovanni Luna is alive and well. Tarpon Springs police checked on him Tuesday, after his brother tearfully described the events to reporters. Abraham Luna used his over-sized shirt to wipe tears from his eyes while he talked.

Abraham Luna, a musician who is on probation for a May arrest on charges of possessing ecstasy, a firearm and paraphernalia, said he wasn't using drugs or alcohol Monday night. He said he plans to invoke a defense of temporary insanity.

He says he doesn't know what he was thinking when he was barreling down U.S. 19 with deputies behind him.

"A smart man wouldn't have run that hard," he said. "I ran too hard for no reason. I feel terrible and guilty for it."

Times staff writer Stephanie Wang contributed to this report.