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. 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.
  2. A view of the student center at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, where opposition is mounting over a plan to consolidate USF's three campuses. Some state lawmakers are opposed to parts of it that would concentrate authority over academic decisions in Tampa. CHRIS URSO   |   TIMES  |
    They say the proposal by USF president Steve Currall conflicts with a new Florida law by giving too much authority to the Tampa campus.
  3. Sharon Hayes, the new chief executive officer at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, says she will draw on her roots in nursing as she engineers a turnaround for the hospital. SCOTT KEELER  |   Times
    The city’s largest hospital has suffered setbacks under a corporate owner, but a new leader says it’s time for an infusion of “love and attention.”
  4. On Wednesday, federal investigators raided the home of St. Petersburg police Officer Matthew Enhoffer, left, shown here in 2015 receiving the Police Department's highest honor from Chief Anthony Holloway. MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Officer Matthew Enhoffer has not been charged with a crime. Authorities declined to say why he’s under investigation.
  5. April Lott, president and CEO of Directions for Living, left, and Dr. Chris Card, chief of community-based care for Eckerd Connects, at a 2018 press conference. Directions is walking away from a $6.6 million contract to provide foster care services in Hillsborough County just two weeks after Eckerd Connects fired the nonprofit from a similar contract in Pinellas County. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Directions for Living says case managers were overburdened and child welfare system ‘remains in crisis.’
  6. The National Merit Scholarship program has announced the names of semifinalists for scholarships to be offered in the spring.
    These students are among the top 1 percent of high school seniors in the nation.
  7. St. Petersburg police arrested Joshua Lorenzo, 37, after he carried a gun under his shirt to Perkins Elementary. Lorenzo is the father a student there. St. Petersburg Police Department
    A school guardian spotted him at dismissal time with what appeared to be a weapon under his clothing, St. Petersburg police said.
  8. Shelby Nealy, 26, appearing here at a hearing in New Port Richey, faces one charge of first-degree murder in Pasco and three in Pinellas. [TIMES (2018)]  |  [Times (2018)]
    His attorney may seek a stand your ground hearing in the wife’s death. Nealy faces Pinellas murder charges in the slayings of her parents and brother.
  9. Tech company Priatek acquired the naming rights to Pinellas County's tallest building in 2015, but its name came off the tower at 200 Central Ave., in downtown St. Petersburg more than a year ago. (Times files | 2015)
    An investor and former member of the board of directors contends in court pleadings that company president Milind Bharvirkar wasted company funds.
  10. Macy's Countryside's personal stylist Lidia Luna, of Tampa, left, helps Lisanni Reyes, of Largo, pick out an evening dress at the department store in Clearwater. The chain, founded in 1858 by Rowland Hussey Macy, is in the midst of revamping its brand and stores, including the Clearwater store, which is among 100 stores nationwide, and 10 in Florida, to be updated this year. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The new look and added services at the Clearwater Macy’s come as retailers shuttered more stores in the first six months of 2019 than in all of last year.