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Hostage jailed for shooting gun

A felon, he violated probation by shooting at a gun range before a suicidal man held him at gunpoint.

By ABBIE VANSICKLE
Published April 20, 2007


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TAMPA - Less than a week after a suicidal man took him hostage in a gun range, Chris Perez sat in jail.

The first hostage to speak publicly about the ordeal, Perez, 24, had talked openly of firing a shotgun at the range.

Turns out, those shots violated Perez's court-ordered felony probation, which prohibits him from carrying, possessing or owning a firearm, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Police picked him up Wednesday afternoon. At 3:09 p.m., he was booked into the jail, where he was held without bail on a charge of violating probation.

"We had witnesses, and he admitted that he was shooting the firearm," said Corrections Department spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger. "That's why he's being violated."

A judge ordered Feb. 26 that Perez serve two years of probation for fleeing and eluding police, a felony, court records show.

At the time of the arrest, he didn't have a valid driver's license.

Perez was arrested previously on drug charges but has not been charged in Florida with a violent crime or one involving a weapon.

Perez was one of five people taken hostage Thursday evening at Shooting Sports Inc., a gun range on Dale Mabry Highway near Waters Avenue.

Unemployed, he went to the range that afternoon with friend Timothy Bechard, 22. The two said they were shooting when Bechard got a call that deputies had surrounded the building.

The friends immediately put down their weapons and went to the front counter to drop off their ear and eye protection.

That's when Jeffrey Dudney, a 43-year-old man out on bail on attempted murder charges, took them prisoner.

For about 10 hours, Dudney held hostages inside the range's front office.

Dudney demanded a car and Xanax from deputies, who sent drugs into the building.

Dudney eventually released two hostages, including Bechard.

About 3 a.m., Dudney put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger, killing himself in front of the remaining hostages.

Abbie VanSickle can be reached at 226-3733 or vansickle@sptimes.com.

 

[Last modified April 20, 2007, 06:48:32]


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