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Students accused of bringing gun to school

Times staff writers

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 24, 2000

ST. PETERSBURG -- Four St. Petersburg High School students -- two freshmen and two sophomores -- could be expelled for passing around a revolver on campus Tuesday, school officials said.

By second period Tuesday, rumors had spread on campus that a .32-caliber revolver was being passed around a restroom. Numerous students reported to teachers and an assistant principal that they had seen the weapon.

Police started searching the campus Tuesday, but did not find the gun. St. Petersburg High principal Linda Benware sent a letter home to parents, notifying them about the rumors and assuring them that the search would continue into Tuesday night.

That's when the school resource officer, acting on information from students he interviewed, found the gun.

Pinellas schools spokesman Ron Stone said the resource officer visited the home of one of the sophomores involved. The officer confiscated the gun.

All four boys involved will be suspended or reassigned to another program pending the outcome of the investigation, Stone said.

St. Petersburg police said Wednesday that the incident remained under investigation.

The students' names were not released.

Wal-Mart on the agenda of Pinellas Park again

PINELLAS PARK -- Wal-Mart will try one more time tonight to get permission to open a supercenter store in south Pinellas County. The Pinellas Park City Council is scheduled to consider giving final approval to a zoning change that would pave the way for a 220,000-square-foot center. If approved, the Wal-Mart would be built at 7901 U.S. 19 N, the present location of the 12-screen Movies at Pinellas Park. The supercenter would also take over the drive-in ministry next door. The meeting is at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall, 5141 78th Ave. N. It is open to the public.

Former pitcher pledges help to Boys, Girls Club

DADE CITY -- Jim "Mudcat" Grant has come a long way since the days he fished the Withlacoochee River to help his mother and father put food on the table.

But the retired Hall of Fame pitcher never forgot Lacoochee, the old lumber town in northeast Pasco where he was born and raised.

On Wednesday, Grant came to the rescue, promising to throw his weight behind efforts to save the struggling Lacoochee unit of the Pasco Boys and Girls Club.

Grant, who heads up the Major League Alumni Association, offered to host a celebrity golf tournament this summer that he expects will raise $10,000 to $20,000 or more.

With plea deal, teen avoids murder charge

TAMPA -- A teenager who faced a first-degree murder charge for his role in the botched robbery and shooting death of a Tampa man has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of attempted robbery.

Aaron Todd Ashley, who was 13 when the crime was committed, was sentenced to three years in prison followed by two years of house arrest and five years' probation.

The plea requires Ashley, now 15, to testify against Mario Preston, the man accused of pulling the trigger in the Dec. 27, 1998, shooting of 61-year-old Donald Richard Rogers.

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