Tampa Bay columnists
Mary Jo Melone
World & Nation
AP The Wire
Comics & Games
Home & Garden
Advertise with the Times
Police disperse rowdy crowd outside nightclub
By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 20, 2000
ST. PETERSBURG -- A helicopter and pepper spray were used early Wednesday to disperse a crowd of 175 to 200 people who were brawling and turned on police outside the Shangri-La Lounge.
No one was injured or arrested, police said, but at least six bottles were thrown at St. Petersburg police officers outside the club at 4807 22nd Ave. S.
Tensions escalated at 1:50 a.m. after officers Michael Kovacsev and Peter Vaughn broke up a fight between two men at closing time, said Officer Dan Bates, police spokesman.
"At that point, several bottles are thrown, hit the ground and break," Bates said.
Part of the crowd scattered, but some people started shouting at Officer Nicholas Bedy, who was called to the club to assist other officers. Bedy was standing in front of the club holding a shotgun when a man began cursing at him. The man was led away in handcuffs, police said.
"Once the fight was diffused, then it was the shotgun issue," Bates said.
Bedy stowed the shotgun away, but eight to 10 people gathered around police. Pepper spray was used to calm the crowd, and a helicopter from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office hovered above the nightclub, shining a spotlight on the crowd to get people to scatter.
By 2:34 a.m., police said, the crowd was under control.
Man dies when pickup veers of road into pond
TAMPA -- A 29-year-old man died early Wednesday after his pickup truck veered off an interstate interchange and overturned in a retention pond.
Divers from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office recovered the body of Gregory A. Williams, 4005 N Lynn Ave., shortly after 1 a.m. Williams apparently lost control of his 1989 Chevrolet pickup while on the exit ramp from northbound Interstate 75 to westbound Interstate 4, said Lt. Harold Frear of the Florida Highway Patrol.
Williams' truck went down the embankment, rolled over and landed on its left side in the pond, he said. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death.
Masked bandits rob restaurant after closing
ST. PETERSBURG -- Two men wearing masks and brandishing a rifle robbed Chubby G's Eatery after the business closed Tuesday night.
No one was hurt or arrested, and the robbers got away with $58.
The owner, Houghton P. Gordon, 35, returned to the restaurant at 9:45 p.m. with his 64-year-old mother and two young children to pick up bananas, said Officer Dan Bates, police spokesman. The robbers entered the restaurant at 527 49th St. S and held a 4-foot-long rifle to Gordon's 11-year-old daughter and demanded money.
© St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.