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Police shoot man in stop of stolen car

Authorities say the driver, who has a lengthy rap sheet, accelerated toward officers.

By ABBIE VANSICKLE
Published October 3, 2006


TAMPA - Gerome "Fat Daddy" Wilson Jr. wouldn't give police his name Monday, not even after they shot him in a stolen car, wounding his shoulder.

His fingerprints later did the talking.

Wilson, who police say tried to mow down two officers, has been arrested nearly 40 times and imprisoned six.

On Monday evening, the St. Petersburg man was being treated for the non-life-threatening bullet wound at St. Joseph's Hospital.

He faces charges of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, grand theft auto, auto burglary and cocaine possession, police say.

The shooting happened at 12:40 p.m., when police spotted a stolen green 1999 Plymouth Breeze near 22nd Street and Busch Boulevard.

The car was reported stolen at 6:30 a.m. that morning by Reggie Gilmore of Tampa. Gilmore again called police about 11:30 a.m., when he saw his car while riding his motorcycle.

Cpl. Chuck Blount and Officer Mike Duran were among the officers who trailed the Plymouth in unmarked police cars. When the Plymouth stopped at a red light at 22nd and Rowlett Park Drive, the officers used their cars to box in the Plymouth.

Blount and Duran got out of their vehicles, ordering the man in the stolen car to do the same, police said.

Instead, Wilson pushed down the pedal, accelerating toward the officers, said police spokeswoman Laura McElroy. That's when Blount and Duran each fired a 9mm semiautomatic handgun.

Of the three shots fired, only one hit Wilson, breaking through the driver's-side window and striking him in the shoulder, she said.

Officers took Wilson into custody, but it took hours to establish his identity. He refused to give his name at the scene and again at the hospital, McElroy said.

Through his fingerprints, police learned he had been in trouble since 1987.

That year, St. Petersburg authorities accused him of carrying a concealed weapon, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Since then, he has been arrested on charges that include drug possession, shoplifting and grand theft auto, crimes for which he has served six stints in state prison.

His last sentence ended in August 2005, when he was released from Hamilton Correctional Institution after serving time for cocaine possession and burglary.

No one else was injured in Monday's incident, but the shooting was a reminder of the dangers of police work, said officers at the scene, Thursday's shooting of Polk County Deputy Vernon Matthew "Matt" Williams fresh in their minds.

Williams, to be buried today, was fatally shot by Angilo Freeland, who opened fire after he was pulled over for speeding, investigators say.

"These officers are in the business of keeping the bad element of society away from the good element of society," McElroy said.

It was the first day for Blount and Duran as part of a five-person team aimed at combating an increase in auto thefts and burglaries in Sulphur Springs.

Both officers have been placed on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated.

Researcher Cathy Wos contributed to this report. Abbie VanSickle can be reached at 226-3373 or vansickle@sptimes.com.

[Last modified October 3, 2006, 01:13:51]


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