1. Pinellas

Fired Indian Rocks Beach employee struck colleagues, wanted to ram truck into City Hall, deputies say

Errol Sylvester Gray, 52, was arrested on four counts of aggravated assault with a motor vehicle and single counts of aggravated battery, resisting an officer without violence and misdemeanor battery. He assaulted two Indian Rocks Beach city employees and tried to run over four more after learning he would be fired, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. [PCSO]
Published Jul. 10

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — A city supervisor who learned he was being fired Wednesday went on a rampage at City Hall, assaulting two colleagues and then aiming a city truck at a group of employees outside, forcing them to retreat into the building, deputies said.

Solid waste supervisor Errol Sylvester Gray, 52, later told deputies that he intended to ram the Ford F-450 flatbed truck into City Hall and drive it into the office of city manager Gregg Mims.

Gray was arrested on four felony counts of aggravated assault with a motor vehicle, one count each of aggravated battery and resisting an officer without violence and misdemeanor battery, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

"We were all shook up," Mayor Joanne "Cookie" Kennedy said. "We do have a safe city and want all our employees to be safe."

The incident took place at about 9:03 a.m. at City Hall, 1507 Bay Palm Blvd. Director of public services Dean Scharmen told Gray that he was being fired, according to Mims.

Gray became angry, deputies said, and punched and kicked Scharmen, 58. He suffered a cracked rib and was left with bruises and bleeding on his arms and head, according to an arrest report.

A 50-year-old colleague heard the commotion and saw Gray yelling as he left Scharmen's office. She told deputies he threw a chair at her and tried to grab her leg and flip her over.

Then Gray jumped into a city-owned flatbed truck and drove west on 15th Avenue N, deputies said. But he made a U-turn and headed back. He aimed the truck at four women standing outside the front entrance of City Hall, deputies said. All four women ran into City Hall, and told deputies they believed Gray intended to run them over.

The mayor said City Hall was placed on lockdown for about 30 minutes, until they heard Gray was arrested.

Deputies found Gray driving south on Gulf Boulevard at 10th Avenue N and pulled him over using techniques known as a "felony traffic stop." That means deputies considered Gray dangerous and likely ordered him out of the truck at gunpoint.

He was uncooperative at first. Gray kept asking why he was being arrested as four deputies wrestled him to the ground, according to the arrest report. Later, the Sheriff's Office said he admitted to assaulting the two city employees and said that he intended to drive the truck into City Hall.

Scharmen was taken to the hospital for treatment and later released. He was identified by the city, but the other city employees involved asked the Sheriff's Office not to release their names. The agency withheld their names under a constitutional amendment known as Marsy's Law, which was designed to protect crime victims.

Gray was booked into the Pinellas County jail, where he was being held late Wednesday in lieu of $61,150 bail.

"I haven't slowed down all day," Mims said. "Indian Rocks Beach has never experienced anything like this before, and in my 35 years in government service I've never seen anything like this."

Contact Kavitha Surana at or 727-893-8149. Follow @ksurana6.


  1. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. JAMAL THALJI  |  Tampa Bay Times
    John Clark used a shotgun to kill his mother and another man. Then he returned to the crime scene with a shotgun, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 a hot minivan with the disabled man in the back seat, investigators said.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. The city is accepting applications for its Commercial Revitalization Program. The city has allocated $175,000 for the program this year.
  7. Plans for the Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue District Board of Commissioners referendum March 12 call for a $100 increase in the annual assessment for single-family units. Tom Germond
    The winner will fill the seat of a board member who moved.
  8. The Florida Association of Museums has named St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman its Outstanding Public Official for 2019.
    The organization recognizes those who contribute to the museum profession.
  9. The Walmart supercenter at 990 Missouri Ave. faced fines in December for these storage containers in the parking lot. City officials are debating whether to make a short-term arrangement with the city two’s Largo stores this year so they can store their holiday inventory. City of Largo
    In the end, city commissioners say yes, with some reservations.
  10. More construction is on the way to St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, thanks to $19.75 million in Federal Aviation Administration grants to rehabilitate the airport’s runway. (Times file photo)
    The work is expected to be complete by spring 2021.