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Gunshot hits car carrying kids

Luckily, no one is injured when a bullet fired by a Pinellas officer chasing a suspect accidently goes astray.

By ABHI RAGHUNATHAN
Published March 14, 2006


SEMINOLE - A Pinellas County sheriff's deputy fired three times at a St. Petersburg man who rammed into his cruiser around 8:15 p.m. Monday, authorities said.

Sheriff's deputy Paul Giovannoni began pursuing Robert L. Crapps, after observing the 19-year-old driving aggressively and erratically, the Sheriff's Office said. Giovannoni tried to stop Crapps by nudging the 1993 Lexus with his cruiser.

Crapps' car spun around near the intersection of 102 Ave and Seminole Boulevard. He then rammed Giovannoni's cruiser. As he backed up, Crapps collided with another car.

Then, as he accelerated toward the deputy again, Giovannoni fired three times, the Sheriff's Office said. One bullet hit the Lexus. Another bullet hit a car driven by a Seminole woman named Candy Capaz; her two daughters, ages 1 and 9, were in the backseat. The third bullet has not yet been found.

Crapps was arrested after he crashed his car into a tree. He was treated for minor injuries then taken to the Pinellas County Jail. Charges against Crapps include aggravated assault and resisting a law enforcement officer with violence.

The Sheriff's Office allows deputies to engage in pursuits if they feel someone is behaving in a manner that could jeopardize public safety. It allows deputies to use deadly force if they feel their lives are in imminent danger.

The Sheriff's Office is investigating the pursuit and shooting. Giovannoni is on paid leave.