tampabay.com

Man fires shot in bar, then turns gun on self

He is hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

By DEMORRIS A. LEE
Published April 13, 2007


CLEARWATER - Things haven't being going well for Cody E. Flanders lately.

On Nov. 19, Flanders' 19-year-old brother, Addison M. "Addy" Flanders, died in a motorcycle accident.

A few years before that, the 25-year-old's father died. It may have all come to an emotional head Thursday morning when police say Flanders saw his ex-girlfriend with another guy at a Clearwater bar.

According to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, Flanders confronted Megan Ann Kramer, 21, and her boyfriend, James Daniel Laguna, 27, at the Lucky Sports Bar at 27867 U.S. 19 N in Clearwater.

Carrying two handguns, Flanders fired a round at Laguna, but did not hit him. Flanders then shot himself.

Flanders, of 2373 Vanderbilt Drive, Clearwater, was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa with life-threatening injuries. Thursday afternoon, his family requested that no information be released about his condition, hospital spokesman Will Darnell said.

Neither Kramer nor Laguna were injured.

Pinellas sheriff's officials declined to release details of the incident, including whether Flanders will be charged.

But Russ Morrisson, Lucky's manager, said there were about a dozen customers in the bar when the initial shot was fired. He said sheriff's deputies are still searching for the bullet that went astray.

Morrisson said a camera at the bar captured the incident on tape, which he said he will turn over to investigators.

Morrisson said the tape showed Flanders walking into the bar and going into the bathroom. Once out of the bathroom, "several patrons tried to get in his way to stop him," Morrisson recounts.

"He pushed his way through and fired one shot that went astray."

The videotape shows the initial shot came at about 12:30 a.m. The patrons scattered. A bar employee dialed 911.

After the initial shot, the tape shows Flanders walking in and out of the building for about five minutes, as if he were still looking for someone, Morrisson said. At about 12:35 a.m., Flanders returned inside and moved near the bar when the police entered, Morrisson said.

"He had the gun to his head within 30 seconds and he pulled the trigger," Morrisson said. "If there were any negotiations, it wasn't long."

In addition to the two guns, Flanders was armed with a knife and 16 shotgun rounds, officials said. A shotgun was found in his car, officials said.

Morrisson said the incident isn't reflective of the establishment's clientele. Nothing to the magnitude of the early morning incident has happened during his four years as manager, he said.

"You have arguments and altercations but nothing to the point of a knife and gun," Morrisson said. "It's a good loyal crowd."

A family member contacted a Flanders' mother's Palm Harbor home declined to comment Thursday. She said family members were at the hospital.

According to Florida records, Flanders was charged with possession of an alligator in 2000. On Feb. 15, he was given a year of probation and fined $668 for habitually driving with a suspended license.

News researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Demorris A. Lee can be reached at 445-4174 or dalee@sptimes.com.