Alton Bradley saw his uncle on the news and couldn't believe the allegations against him.
James Mathew Bradley Jr., who authorities have said is from Clearwater, is accused of driving a sweltering semitrailer truck that was discovered outside a San Antonio, Texas, Walmart with about 30 undocumented immigrants inside. Ten of them have died.
That's not the man his family knows, Alton Bradley, son of James Bradley's oldest brother, told the Tampa Bay Times on Monday....
07/20/17 Public Safety
CLEARWATER — It was just another day on Clearwater Beach Thursday for Stephanie Ball and her 14-month-old son.
Until they heard the sirens.
Ball and her friend Emily Keene looked to their left and saw a black Jeep Cherokee barreling down the beach, followed by a swarm of Clearwater police cruisers.
"We saw them just flying down," Keene, 27, said.
The driver, whom police identified as 27-year-old Ryan Stiles, streamed the pursuit over Facebook Live, with the video showing him driving over beach chairs and drinking from a bottle of Canadian Mist whiskey. He made it all the way to Caladesi Island before he stopped, faced with a choice to continue into the water or surrender to police, Deputy Chief Donald Hall said at a news conference....
07/20/17 Public Safety
LARGO — The city has a new deputy fire chief after Dave Mixson left the post to take a job as chief and director of public safety of the South Pasadena Fire Department.
Joseph Pennino has worked for Largo Fire Rescue since 2003 and has served in many roles, including lieutenant, assistant chief of training and division chief of operations, according to an announcement from Chief Shelby Willis....
07/20/17 Public Safety
SEMINOLE — County commissioners on Tuesday approved a settlement with the Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue District, closing out a lawsuit filed last year by the district over millions of dollars of emergency medical services funding.
The unanimous vote finalized the agreement the fire district's commission had already approved last week. It mainly guarantees county funding for at least two paramedic positions in the district going forward and makes certain district projects eligible for Penny for Pinellas dollars if voters renew the 1-cent sales tax in November....
07/19/17 Public Safety
DUNEDIN — Pinellas County officials are in negotiations to move the Sheriff's Office north district station from its downtown home of 20 years to a building about three miles north.
The county is in the process of working out a lease agreement with the owner of a former Wells Fargo bank branch on Bayshore Boulevard south of Curlew Road to move the station from its current location in the former Dunedin Police Department at 737 Louden Ave....
RIVERVIEW — Janessa Shannon had sneaked out of her mother's Bradenton home before. So Michelle Mosley wasn't happy when she found out her 13-year-old daughter had done it again, winding up at a boy's house.
As punishment, Janessa was returned to her father's home in Riverview a day early, Mosley said Sunday. It was the last time she would see her daughter.
The father, Nahshon Shannon, grounded her that night. He checked on Janessa the following day, he said, and found no one in her bedroom at his home at 11219 Cocoa Beach Drive. He reported her disappearance to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office on July 3, a Monday....
07/14/17 Public Safety
LARGO — The relationships between former Pinellas County sheriff's Sgt. Michael Gibson and the young deputies he helped train started out professional.
They yielded to casual friendships, some text messages here and chatter at work there.
Then, he crossed a line, according to an internal investigation.
The recently released report shows that Gibson, a 14-year veteran of the agency, was accused of sexually harassing two female deputies and engaging in inappropriate relationships with two more while he was married. ...
07/12/17 Local Government
SEMINOLE — Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue District commissioners unanimously approved an agreement to settle a lawsuit the district filed against Pinellas County over millions of dollars of emergency medical services funding.
The independent fire district that covers a cluster of coastal communities won't get back the $5.2 million officials feel they were owed. Instead, the settlement commissioners approved on Tuesday guaranteed money from the county going forward and set the tone for a working relationship between the two governments....
SEMINOLE — Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue District commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved settling its 2016 lawsuit against Pinellas County over millions of dollars of emergency medical services funding.
The district didn’t get the $5.2 million officials felt they were owed after a series of funding cuts over several years. Instead, the agreement both sides hammered out in mediation will fund new positions for the district....
07/11/17 Local Government
SEMINOLE — Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue District commissioners are set to vote Tuesday on a proposed settlement agreement of a lawsuit against Pinellas County over millions of dollars in emergency medical services funding.
07/07/17 Local Government
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — Now is a turning point for the Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue District.
District officials are on the brink of settling a lawsuit over millions of dollars in emergency medical services funding.
They're also fighting a lawsuit that alleges the district used "ambiguous, deceptive and misleading" ballot language to convince voters to approve a new property tax. ...
06/29/17 Public Safety
LARGO — Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri fired a patrol deputy on Thursday after a photo surfaced that shows him boasting about almost shooting someone.
The photo, posted Sunday on the visual messaging app Snapchat, shows deputy Austen Callus, 23, with the caption: "Nothing like almost shooting someone to set your head right lol. God I gate people with knives." The word "gate" appears to be a misspelling of "hate."...
06/27/17 Public Safety
LARGO — A Pinellas County sheriff's corporal resigned recently after an investigation into an alleged extramarital affair revealed a trove of racist, sexist and pornographic images on his personal cellphone.
Shawn Pappas, 46, resigned from the agency at the end of February after investigators found the photos, which include images comparing black people to animals, derogatory memes about the Women's March on Washington and photos he took of his genitals while working on duty at the agency shooting range. ...
Four questions with Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith before he helps lead the St. Pete Pride parade06/23/17 Human Interest
A decade ago, Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith was afraid to tell his friends and family he was gay.
On Saturday, he'll be leading the St. Pete Pride parade as one of four grand marshals, front and center of the largest Pride celebration in the state.
06/22/17 Public Safety
TARPON SPRINGS — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has released a fact-finding report that largely mirrors an earlier investigation that ruled the officer-involved shooting that killed 25-year-old Nick Provenza last month was a "justifiable homicide."
The FDLE findings were similar to those made in a Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office report earlier this month. The State Attorney's report concluded that Tarpon Springs police Officer Scott MacIsaac was justified in using deadly force in that May 6 incident at a charity car show. FDLE does not act on its findings, but will send its report to prosecutors to review....