Early morning Spring Hill dispute ends in shooting
The fight started at a Pasco strip club. The wounded man was flown to Tampa for emergency surgery.
By MICHAEL KRUSE
Published October 11, 2005
SPRING HILL - It started as an argument late Sunday night in a Pasco County strip club. It shifted to a physical fight in a Wal-Mart parking lot up a ways on U.S. 19. It ended with gunshots in the wee hours Monday morning in a messy yard on Spring Hill Drive.
And one man took a bullet to his belly.
Steven Paul Vernon, 29, was charged with attempted murder after he shot John M. Carbone, 28, in the lower abdomen with a .22-caliber pistol, authorities said.
Carbone lives at 5367 Roble Ave., Spring Hill. He was flown to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa for emergency surgery.
"They expect him to make a full recovery," Hernando County sheriff's Capt. Alan Arick said.
Vernon, who has tattoos and sometimes goes by Steve-O, according to the arrest affidavit, spent the rest of the morning at the Sheriff's Office, Arick said. Then he was taken to the Hernando County Jail, where he was being held on $250,000 bail.
The confrontation occurred about 2:20 a.m. in front of Vernon's home at 6337 Spring Hill Drive, according to the affidavit. Alcohol played a part.
One of Vernon's friends was with him at the exotic dance club called Lollipops in Hudson. He told detectives that Carbone had followed them in his car to the parking lot of the Spring Hill Wal-Mart. The friend said Carbone gave Vernon a bloody lip.
Later, at the house on Spring Hill Drive, the friend said in the statement, he and Carbone were standing outside and had just agreed to stop all the fighting. He said he even offered Carbone a beer. Then Vernon came out of the house and started firing the gun.
Carbone hit Vernon in the head with the beer bottle, according to the affidavit, but Vernon got off "several shots," Arick said.
One of them hit Carbone's car parked in the road.
Another hit Carbone in the lower abdomen.
Deputies found him walking on Spring Hill Drive. Detectives Jim Boylan and Shawn Terry talked to Vernon for most of the rest of Monday morning.
Vernon told the detectives he didn't know Carbone and had seen him "beating up" his friend - the witness - and that he walked outside with the gun and that it had gone off by accident. He said he got scared and put the gun in his pocket and fled. The gun fell out of his pocket, he told the detectives, and was now lost.
Deputies later found the weapon buried in loose dirt behind the house.
The neighborhood is made of a stretch of small houses west of Deltona Boulevard that were among the first built when Spring Hill opened in 1968.
Arlene Peragine lives next door in a brick and green stucco house on the other side of a tall pine hedge. She is 83 and wears hearing aids. The commotion woke her up.
"It sounded like metal being moved or something like that," she said late Monday morning.
Peragine said lots of people have been hanging out at Vernon's house.
"For months there's been activity over there," she said. "In and out. In and out. Five, six cars parked there at a time - I've really been scared."
No one was home midday Monday at 6337 Spring Hill Drive. The screen door had black iron bars on it.
The silver metal shutter was pulled over the big window in the front. Venetian blinds were drawn in all the others. Multicolored Christmas lights hung from the gutter.
In the carport: a lawn mower, a wheelchair, red gas cans and a pile of black garbage bags.
Here and there in the yard: four brown Bud Light bottles.
A 1986 maroon Cutlass Supreme sat in a patch of uncut grass off to the side of the front yard. The white grease paint on the windshield said it was for sale for $1,750 and gave a cell phone number.
Maurizio Catelli answered. He said he was 30 and was up in Mississippi with a Hurricane Katrina cleanup crew. He was told what had happened in the yard near the car he's been trying to sell.
"From what I know, he's a good guy," Catelli said. "He dated a girl I knew. That's how I met. I really don't know too much about his personal life."
He said he didn't know much else.
But he did have one question.
"Did the car get hit?"
--Michael Kruse can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352-848-1434.
[Last modified October 11, 2005, 01:57:17]
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