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Leads sought after man shot, burned

By JONATHAN ABEL
Published March 17, 2007


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SPRING LAKE - Luke Griggs was driving his truck down a dirt road in rural Hernando County when he was shot in the arm.

Then his yellow Ford pickup was set on fire. No one yet knows how or why. Deputies on Friday were still trying to unravel the mystery.

Griggs, 19, suffered extensive burns in addition to his gunshot wound.

He was found a few hundred yards from his truck, naked on the side of the road at the intersection of Hayman Road and Dan Brown Hill Road.

"I saw him just sitting on the ground with a woman who stopped on the side of the road," said Ferol Long, who lives on Hayman Road. She didn't hear the shooting and didn't see who started the fire.

Authorities are looking for anyone who might have passed by the intersection between 11 and 11:58 a.m. They have started calling people in the area using the Code Red reverse 911 system.

The shooting took place just a few miles north of the Pasco County line, in an area dominated by farms and horse ranches.

Griggs' pickup was headed south on Dan Brown Hill Road when he was shot. On the west side of the street is a pine forest. On the east side is an open pasture.

An hour after the shooting, the pickup was still smoldering. It had burned completely. Its gutted chassis was resting on the dirt.

Griggs, of Lutz, was flown to Tampa General Hospital.

The Hernando Sheriff's Office said that he was in critical condition.

A woman who identified herself as Griggs' mother answered the phone at about 5:45 p.m.

She said she had just found out - she hadn't even been to the hospital to see him.

A sheriff's detective was there talking to her. He took the phone and said the family wasn't in any condition to talk.

Times researcher Angie Drobnic Holan contributed to this report. Jonathan Abel can be reached at jabel@sptimes.com or 352 754-6114.

[Last modified March 16, 2007, 21:03:21]


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