Slain deputy ambushed from behind with powerful rifleBy SAUNDRA AMRHEIN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 3, 2003
LACOOCHEE - The killer of a beloved veteran Pasco sheriff's deputy struck from behind the sights of a high-powered rifle, firing a bullet from a patch of woods through the rear of a patrol car and into the back of the officer sitting in the driver's seat.
Lt. Charles "Bo" Harrison was killed early Sunday after the bullet pierced the metal of his cruiser, ripped through the upholstery and entered his back, according to the Pasco Sheriff's Office.
Police released few other details Monday about the high-profile investigation of the death of the 31-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office. Harrison was killed in his car while sitting in the parking lot of the Farm Basket Market to keep watch over the Rumors nightclub across U.S. 301.
Detectives have concluded that the shooter fired from some woods north of the Farm Basket Market parking lot, the Sheriff's Office said Monday. Evidence from the shooting was being sent to the FBI crime lab in Quantico, Va., to determine the type of rifle used in the attack.
Police were encouraging community members with information about the incident to call toll-free 1-800-854-2862, ext. 5253. The office was preparing details about reward money for information that leads to solving the case, spokesman Kevin Doll said.
Doll would not comment on whether Harrison was wearing a bulletproof vest, what type of evidence was recovered, how many shots hit the car or the caliber of the weapon.
"It is still part of the investigation, nothing we would deem to be valuable to the public," Doll said. He would not comment about suspects or anyone who has been questioned about the shooting.
Harrison, who was the patrol supervisor for the east side, was with several other deputies about 2 a.m. Sunday when the deputies left him to explore reports of shots fired across the road from the small grocery store. They returned to find Harrison unresponsive in the patrol car.
Harrison, 57, was due to retire in mid June. Just before the shooting, the lifelong resident of Dade City and father of three was several hours into his night shift on "directed patrol" or surveillance in the area of the Rumors nightclub, Doll said.
Deputies typically conduct surveillance in troubled areas with high levels of crime, Doll said. "We have to have a presence if we know an area has crime in the past and might (have crime) in the future," Doll said.
Since late 2000, the nightclub was the focus of more than 20 calls to the Sheriff's Office for fights and violent crimes, from battery to murder, and more than 120 police stakeouts, office records said.
According to state records, Rumors nightclub is operated under the name Ramey US 301 Inc. by Maria Dugarte of Tampa. The liquor license is in Dugarte's name, and state records show the liquor license is current with no complaints filed.
Dugarte would not return phone calls left for her at another of her establishments in Tampa.
In February 2001, "Little" Ronnie Barber was fatally shot in the club's parking lot. A jury last year convicted Scottie Lee "D'Angelo" White of second-degree murder in the shooting.
Eric Antwon "E-Love" Wilson awaits trial on the same charge, and Cleveland Browns linebacker Darren Hambrick, a 27-year-old Lacoochee native, is listed as a possible defense witness for Wilson.
In August 2000, a woman was accused of stabbing her ex-boyfriend outside nearby S&F Liquors following an argument that started when she left Rumors.
On May 10, Michael Anthony Reed was killed in the area after crashing into a tree as he fled from a sheriff's deputy. A disturbance ensued as 75 to 100 people gathered at the scene to yell at deputies and rescue workers.
In January, on a forest road near Lacoochee, the bodies of two men were found inside a torched truck. The crime remains unsolved.
Rumors, a white concrete block building with barred windows, a padlocked door and orange trim sat empty Monday afternoon. A sign inside the door said, "No weapons, no fighting, no drugs."
- Times staff writer Chase Squires and researcher Kitty Bennett contributed to this report.
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