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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
SPRING HILL - The 911 calls that the parents of Kyle Gabelman made to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office offer a stark and chilling recounting of the events leading up to the moment Gabelman fired a pistol, and then was shot to death by deputies.
The tapes, released Friday, cover the nearly 30 minutes that Gabelman, 25, tried to get into his parents' home on Nov. 20. He beat on the front door, rang the doorbell repeatedly, circled the house and broke a glass door, and eventually gained momentary access to the house. At one point, he held his pistol to his head as his parents pleaded with him to put down the weapon.
After arguing with his parents, who tried in vain to get him to surrender his gun, Gabelman can be heard saying that going to jail would not be better than being shot by deputies.
He then walks outside and fires his pistol. Deputies can be heard shooting and fatally wounding him.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement continues to investigate the shooting. Deputies Michael Glatfelter, 45, and Christopher Croft, 33, were placed on paid administrative leave after the incident.
Gabelman, who worked in lawn maintenance and lived in Hudson, had become unhinged earlier in the day because of a break up with his girlfriend and his parents were frightened when he showed up drunk at their home at 13411 Banyan Road.
Gabelman left in his black Ford F-150 pickup and his mother, Debbie, called 911 to say she was worried about his safety. A truck matching that same description soon hit another car at Barclay Avenue and Spring Hill Drive and then took off, according to police reports.
Gabelman then came back home, his truck dented on the passenger side. This time, he was carrying a black handgun.
His mother and father, Thomas, called 911 again. Gabelman took off, ditched his truck in a nearby woods and walked a mile back to his parents' house. When he arrived, his mother called 911 again, for the last time.
On the tape, she can be heard screaming and begging for deputies to show up because she's scared. Her son is ringing the front doorbell.
A dispatcher tells Debbie to not let her son inside. Debbie continues to scream in harsh, choking sobs. She is frightened of her son - but she also doesn't want him to be hurt.
"Please don't shoot my son," she yells repeatedly.
Gabelman, with the gun in his hand, walks to the back of the house and sits on the side of a spa tub. His father picks up the telephone and talks to the dispatcher. He says that his son has put the gun down and is talking.
But then, glass breaks.
Gabelman shatters the rear door and is inside the house. Again, his mother screams.
Thomas and Debbie beg their son to put down the gun. Thomas tells his son that the deputies will not shoot him because he has asked them not to harm him.
Gabelman says if he puts down the gun, he'll go to jail.
His mother says jail is better than death.
Gabelman doesn't agree.
At 1:53 p.m., with his parents still pleading, Gabelman walks out the front door, gun in his hand. On the tape, small pops of gunfire can be heard.