Local Crime Watch: March 16

Sources: Pinellas County Crime Viewer, the Gulfport City Manager’s Report, the Gulfport Police and the St. Petersburg Police.

Shootout over Doughnut Kills Man, Injures Deputy 

One person is dead and a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Deputy is injured after a shootout Wednesday, March 15, that allegedly started over a doughnut in unincorporated Pinellas (intersection of 46th Ave. and 80th Way N.).

Daniel Edward Kulwicki, 68, died of a shotgun wound to the forehead, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon. Deputy Michael Ficocelli, 30, suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and was taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. He is reported to be in good condition.

Gualtieri said the incident started with an argument between Jeffrey M. Falsey, 24, and his mother, Susan DiFavvio, 63, over doughnuts. As the incident escalated, 911 was called. When deputies arrived at the mobile home, Gualtieri said Falsey told them to come in. However, the deputies sensed something was off, and when they did not enter the home, Falsey, who was watching them through a video camera, began shooting through the door.

Deputy Ficocelli was shot as he tried to retrieve his rifle from his cruiser. Falsey agreed to surrender after SWAT team members arrived. According to the Sheriff, Falsey admitted to shooting Kulwicki, his mother’s fiance and also a registered sex offender.

Deputies found what was described as an “arsenal” of weapons in the home, including semi-automatic weapons and ammunition. Falsey reportedly got the weapons from his father, a St. Petersburg resident.

Gualtieri described Falsey as a “very problematic individual” with a “significant history of mental health issues.”

Information from the TBReporter.com was used in this article. 

Search for Two Men in Water off Pass-a-Grille 

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Deputies are looking for two adults who were in the water in the Pass-A-Grille channel near the Gulf of Mexico and St. Pete Beach. The incident occurred at about 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March, 14.

According to deputies, the initial call came after two subjects were discovered to be missing in the water. Due to the wind, waves and current, the subjects had been unable to get back on their vessel. Deputies responded and began to search for the two individuals.

Fifteen students from Colorado State University were on a 71 ft. charter boat off of Shell Key. Five male students had gone swimming off the side of the vessel while anchored. Only four were able to swim back to the vessel. While the charter captain was assisting the four swimmers, a charter mate jumped in the water to assist the fifth student. Deputies believe the men were caught in the fast moving current and were not wearing personal flotation devices.

The investigation and search continues.

Gulfport Man Drowns in Gulf

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputies are investigating the drowning of Thomas M. Howell, 55, of Gulfport who was operating the Sun Sports Para-sail boat in the Gulf of Mexico on March 11.

Howell suffered an apparent medical episode and fell off of the
vessel into the water about 300 yards off shore behind the Trade Winds Island Grand Resort and was found unconscious a short time later.

Deputies received the distress call at about 11:37 a.m.

According to the law enforcement report, when Howell fell overboard, he was not wearing a life preserver. Another employee reeled in the patron that was para-sailing and then began circulating for Howell. Jet skis in the area helped in locating Howell who was reported to be in the water for between 5 to 10 minutes before he was located and removed. CPR was initiated and Howell was brought to shore resort where members of the St. Petersburg Beach Fire Department began attempting advanced life saving measures.

Howell was transported to Palms of Pasadena Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Deputies say that alcohol and drugs do not appear to be factors in Howell’s death and next of kin have been notified.

The investigation continues.

Accidental Shooting in South Pasadena

Detectives with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office are investigating an apparent accidental shooting in South Pasadena that occurred at approximately 10:30 p.m. at the intersection of Pasadena Avenue South and Park Street.

Mareth C. Reum, the female victim, was transported to Bayfront Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

According to detectives, Reum, was seen by a citizen being placed into the back seat of a 2012 Toyota Tacoma pick-up truck by her fiance, Logan D. McClain. A description of the vehicle was given out in reference to the suspicious circumstances.

Detectives later learned that in response to the report, the vehicle was stopped by St. Petersburg police at 5756 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. Pinellas County deputies responded to this location.

Detectives say McClain is employed as a Tampa Firefighter and Paramedic, and was a passenger in the truck. The two were near their residence when McClain went to retrieve his handgun from the center console. The handgun was reported to have accidentally discharged striking Reum in the right thigh area while she was driving. McClain accessed the injury, rendered first aid and placed Reum in the back seat of the vehicle then decided to take her to Bayfront Hospital. Detectives say the couple was stopped by St. Petersburg police prior to their arrival at the hospital.
Detectives say McClain has a valid concealed carry permit and foul play does not appear to be a factor.

Missing Man in St. Petersburg

As of Wednesday, March 15, police are still searching for Benjamin Chapinski, 51, a missing man who is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and has the reasoning ability of a 10 to 12-year-old. He becomes delusional when he does not take his medication.

He was last seen on Saturday, March 11, at 10 p.m., at the home he shares with his father, 4300 22nd Street N. The family noticed he was missing when he didn’t get up to walk the dog Sunday morning.

Anyone with information is asked to call the St. Petersburg Police non-emergency line at 727-893-7780, or text them a tip to TIP411.

A sampling of police reports from March 2, 2017 through March 15, 2017 in Gulfport, South Pasadena, St. Pete Beach and St. Petersburg.

Gulfport

3/2 – In the 3100 block of Beach Boulevard South, a motorist advised officers of a possible dine and dash. The business stated that the parties had left without paying, however they did have their credit card number from a previously voided transaction and completed the payment.

3/3 – In the 5800 block of 11th Avenue South, there was a false report of a sex offense. A juvenile reported to her school resource officer that she was attacked in Gulfport by three males in the street the night before and they attempted to remove her clothes. The incident was referred to detectives who investigated and determined the claim was fabricated in an attempt to get attention.

3/4 – In the 5700 block of 30th Avenue South, a resident reported that he left $1,200 in cash and a loaded Glock 27 hand gun in his car overnight and someone entered the vehicle and stole the items.

3/4 – In the 28th Avenue South and 57th Street South area, Officer Zack Mills observed a car weaving and it failed to stop for a stop sign. The driver, Ciera Whitfield-Bush, appeared to be intoxicated. After a DUI investigation was conducted, she was arrested. Whitfield-Bush’s breath alcohol content was .178/.181.

3/5 – In the 2700 Block of 49th Street South, Officer Zack Mills stopped a car for failing to stop for a stop sign. The driver, Emma Calder-Godfrey, appeared to be intoxicated. After a DUI investigation was conducted she was arrested for DUI. A search of her purse revealed crack cocaine and inside her vehicle was a small amount of marijuana. Her breath alcohol content was .124/.118.

3/6 – In the 1900 block of 58th Street South, a crew contracted to flush out the storm drains for the city found a loaded .38 revolver in the storm drain. The gun had been there a while and was rusted shut and could not be safely unloaded. It was transported directly to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Property and Evidence area.

3/8 – A woman and her teenaged daughter got into a physical fight that escalated when the mother beat the teen over the head with a metal paper towel rack. The woman was arrested for child abuse that resulted in minor injury.

3/8 – In the 3000 block of 49th Street South, a man was threatening suicide with a rifle. Officers arrived and confronted the man who immediately put down the rifle. The man was taken into custody under the Baker Act. During the incident, a dog bit an officer. The officer received treatment on the scene and is expected to make a full recovery.

3/8 – In the 3100 block of 53rd Street South, Officer Jesse Kellington responded to the area in reference to a suspicious vehicle. When he arrived, he located a parked vehicle that had sustained minor damage. The driver, who smelled of alcohol, claimed the damage was from a crash two days prior. The man was complaining of chest pains and was transported to Palms of Pasadena Hospital. He consented to a blood draw and charges are pending the results of the blood draw.

Battery

3/10, 5:09 p.m., 800 Block of 59th Street S

Battery – sexual

3/9, 3:00 a.m., 5200 Block of 9th Avenue S

Burglary – residence

3/7, 8:30 a.m., 5200 Block of 14th Avenue S

3/8, 8:50 a.m., 2600 Block of 47th Street S

3/9, 9:20 p.m., 52ND Street S & Tangerine Avenue S

Burglary – vehicle

3/6, 9:00 a.m., 1800 Block of York Street S

3/6, 2:00 p.m., 5100 Block of Tangerine Avenue S

3/6, 4:00 p.m., 5500 Block of 28th Avenue S

3/6, 9:00 p.m., 5000 Block of Newton Avenue S

3/7, 3:50 a.m., 1900 Block of 49th Street S

3/8, 3:00 p.m., 3000 Block of Dupont Street S

3/11, 10:30 a.m., 2300 Block of 58th Street S

3/11, 12:30 p.m., 1300 Block of Freemont Street S

3/12, 10:00 a.m., 2000 Block of 54th Street S

3/12, 2:30 p.m., 6100 Block of 10th Avenue S

Robbery –armed

3/7, 10:39 a.m., 5500 Block of 12th Avenue S

Theft – grand

3/13, 12:00 a.m., 5000 Block of 9th Avenue S

Theft – petit

3/7, 12:00 a.m., 1400 Block of 59th Street S

3/9, 12:41 p.m., 900 Block of 58th Street S

3/9, 8:30 p.m., 2900 Block of 45th Street S

Theft – shoplifting

3/7, 3:08 p.m., 4900 Block of 17th Avenue S

3/7, 9:12 p.m., 5700 Block of Gulfport Boulevard S

Theft – vehicle

3/13, 10:30 p.m., 5000 Block of 12th Avenue S

Trespass

3/9, 4:25 p.m., 5500 Block of Shore Boulevard S

3/12, 1:00 p.m., 800 Block of Hull Street S

Vandalism – criminal mischief

3/7, 10:00 p.m., 5600 Block of Tangerine Avenue S

3/9, 8:00 a.m., 5300 Block of 29th Avenue S

3/13, 6:00 p.m., 5100 Block of Gulfport Boulevard S

 

South Pasadena

Burglary – residence

3/9, 3:30 p.m., 1300 Block of Pasadena Avenue S

Theft – petit

3/9, 6:18 p.m., 1200 Block of Pasadena Avenue S

Theft – shoplifting

3/7, 5:15 p.m., 1000 Block of Pasadena Avenue S

 

St. Pete Beach

Battery

3/11, 1:04 a.m., 5500 Block of Gulf Boulevard

Burglary – residence

3/9, 9:00 a.m., 500 Block of 39th Avenue

Theft – grand

3/5, 8:00 p.m., 600 Block of 73rd Avenue

3/11, 6:30 p.m., 5300 Block of Gulf Boulevard

Theft – shoplifting

3/8, 9:32 p.m., 4600 Block of Gulf Boulevard

Theft – vehicle

3/7, 9:00 a.m., 400 Block of 76th Avenue

Theft – petit

3/7, 8:25 p.m., 5000 Block of Gulf Boulevard

3/8, 12:01 a.m., 500 Block of Corey Avenue

3/11, 5:00 p.m., 500 Block of 67th Avenue

Don't be shy. Tell us what you think.