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Injured suspect headed to jail

A police officer shot Luis Objio after the homeless man allegedly threw a knife at him. Objio is charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

By BRADY DENNIS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 2, 2002

TAMPA -- Luis Objio will go to jail, just as soon as he gets out of the hospital.

The 44-year-old homeless man was shot twice Thursday -- once in the stomach, once in the thigh -- after he allegedly threw a putty knife at a Tampa police officer.

Objio has been charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, police spokesman Joe Durkin said.

Objioremained under police guard Friday at St. Joseph's Hospital in fair condition. His next stop will be the county jail.

The incident began Thursday about noon when officers responded to a loud music complaint at Columbus Avenue and N Boulevard. Objio was not involved.

Authorities said Objio, sitting against a large oak tree near a gas station, began yelling at 17-year veteran police officer Greg Caulley.

During the confrontation, Caulley ordered Objio to drop a tattered sack he was holding. Objio obliged, but he then reached in his pants pocket and pulled out the putty knife, police said.

Caulley drew his gun, demanding that Objio drop the knife. Objio threw it at Caulley, who then fired three times, police said.

Several witnesses described Objio as mentally unstable and called the shooting unnecessary. One said Objio was walking away from the officer when he was shot.

"I said, 'Don't shoot! Don't shoot! Don't shoot!,' " said Nora Melton, owner of nearby Prince Grocery. "And they shot him."

Neighbors described Objio as shy but kind. He didn't speak English, they said. But he would clean up garbage around the grocery store and not ask for money in return.

Residents said Objio was talking to himself under the tree when the officer drove up.

"Everyone sees him around here," said Tiffany Graham, 18, who lives in the neighborhood. "He had no business being shot."

State records show that Objio has been arrested 11 times in Florida since 1982, on charges including loitering, larceny, carrying a concealed weapon, triggering a false fire alarm, battery and resisting an officer without violence.

Caulley has an unblemished record, Durkin said.

He remains on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation and an inquiry by the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office, as is standard in any police shooting.

-- Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

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