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Pasco County Fla--Sheriff's Deputy Shot to Death Sitting in Patrol Car

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  • captstanm1
    Suspect Changes Story--Says he has alibi

    Tampa Tribune

    Teen May Have Alibi For Time Of Shooting
    By MISSY STODDARD [email protected]
    Published: Jun 6, 2003

    DADE CITY - Alfredie ``Freddie'' Steele Jr., the teenager accused of gunning down a Pasco sheriff's deputy this week, may have an alibi.
    At least one woman - the sister of Steele's deceased friend Michael Reed - has told Steele's defense team that Steele was with her inside Rumors nightclub when Lt. Charles ``Bo'' Harrison was shot to death about 2 a.m. Sunday in Lacoochee, Senior Assistant Public Defender Tom Hanlon said.

    ``Certainly he had been over at Rumors, and there's a girl [Charmaine Arnold] saying he was there with her all night,'' Hanlon said. ``I'm tracking it down.''

    But investigators say they have their man and that Steele acted alone. The gun used to kill Harrison was described as being similar to an AK-47 assault rifle and reportedly was stolen recently during a home burglary in Hernando County.

    The high-powered rifle had not been recovered Thursday afternoon - a fact that worried some deputies because of threats made to kill a total of three police officers in retaliation for a Lacoochee man's death during a police chase May 10. The sheriff's office has received several calls from citizens offering to donate reward money for the return of the rifle, but the sheriff's office had not posted a reward by Thursday.

    Hanlon said there are ``a million scenarios'' that could have played out in Harrison's shooting, and it's too early for his client to be tried and convicted in the court of public opinion.

    ``I don't know that he is admitting to pulling the trigger,'' Hanlon said. ``I don't know if he even knows what happened.''

    Deputies on Tuesday arrested Steele in Harrison's slaying after he reportedly confessed to using a rifle to shoot into a patrol car from which Harrison was surveilling the nightclub in Lacoochee.

    Hanlon hasn't ruled out any possible explanations about what happened or why Steele may have confessed.

    Steele might have been high on drugs or alcohol when he allegedly confessed to being the shooter, Hanlon said.

    ``I think it's possible that somebody got the kid all screwed up and convinced him he did it and that's what he's saying,'' Hanlon said. ``He could be taking the fall for someone else, either intentional or nonintentional.''

    Hanlon said whoever fired the deadly shot may not have known the patrol car was occupied.

    ``It could be just somebody wanting to shoot up a police car,'' he said. ``From what I've been told by law enforcement, there was a group of officers over there in the Farm Basket parking lot, and they heard shots ring out at Rumors and all of them but Lt. Harrison went over there, and he stayed in the car.''

    Though State Attorney Bernie McCabe said Wednesday that it is too soon to say whether the state will seek the death penalty against Steele, Hanlon said he knows it's a strong possibility.

    ``I'm certainly aware of that ... but I didn't share it with his mother because she is already torn up,'' he said. ``And [Steele] is torn up and shook up. This is a kid that just turned 19 and was never involved in the criminal justice system except for a traffic offense.''

    If Steele was involved, Hanlon said, it's likely that his emotional state at the time of the shooting was fragile, having lost three of his closest friends in the past year, most recently Michael Anthony Reed, who died in a car wreck while fleeing from a Pasco deputy May 10.

    Thursday afternoon, Hanlon said he was having Steele's blood drawn and his mental state evaluated.

    Hanlon, who worked as a sheriff's deputy while putting himself through law school, said he thinks Harrison would approve of his defending Steele.

    ``I would imagine Bo is sitting up there expecting me to do my job the way I try to do it on every occasion,'' he said. ``To try a clean case and treat everybody with respect and let the system ferret out what's true and what's not.''

    Reporter Candace J. Samolinski contributed to this report. Reporter Missy Stoddard can be reached at (813) 779-4635.

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  • captstanm1
    Teen Did Not Know He Was Shooting a Family Friend

    The suspect admitted to shooting the Pasco County Deputy, however, he did not realize that as he was pulling the trigger he was shooting a long time friend of his family.


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  • captstanm1
    Suspect Linked to Earlier Incident in LaCoochie

    As I suspected when I posted the original thread on this tragedy the suspect has been linked to the earlier incident described in the Fire Wire....see link below.... The suspect was apparently best friends with the victim that had died after a police chase several weeks ago.

    Here is the link: http://cms.firehouse.com/forums2/sho...threadid=48871

    Here are the Details of the arrest.


    Pasco teen arrested in deputy's killing
    Police charge a 19-year-old whose friend was killed last month in a crash as deputies pursued him.

    © St. Petersburg Times
    published June 4, 2003

    People in Lacoochee knew what the tattoos on Alfredie Steele Jr. stood for.

    They marked the violent ends of two close friends, deaths that sent him on a downward spiral amid a community's escalating distrust and contempt of law enforcement officers.

    The tattoo on Steele's right arm - MAR - might be telling. Steele's close friend Michael Anthony Reed died in a car crash last month, with deputies in pursuit. The incident provoked rage against the authorities in the tiny Pasco community of Lacoochee - to the point that deputies were ordered to respond with two cars to any call for service there.

    About 2 a.m. Sunday, not far from where Reed died, Steele fired a high-powered rifle toward a green and white Pasco sheriff's cruiser, deputies said. One bullet ripped through the rear of the car and into the back of Lt. Charles "Bo" Harrison, a 30-year veteran deputy who was two weeks from retirement.

    The 19-year-old surrendered to deputies Monday night after a tearful goodbye with family, was booked Tuesday on a homicide charge and then whisked to an undisclosed county jail "for his own protection," according to sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll.

    According to an arrest affidavit, Steele talked with investigators after they read him his rights and admitted he fired the shot that killed Harrison.

    At a news conference Tuesday, Sheriff Bob White offered little detail and said nothing about motive. But State Attorney Bernie McCabe said officials have "speculated all along" that Harrison's death was tied to Reed's.

    It was clear Tuesday that the investigation was not over and that sheriff's officials were still concerned for the safety of officers. All patrols in the Lacoochee area were to be manned by two deputies.

    Family and friends were shocked by Steele's arrest. They called him a role model who got good grades at Pasco High School and a peacemaker whose only involvement in fights was to break them up.

    "When I heard about this, if somebody had told me this, I would tell them it was untrue," said Pasco High School assistant football coach Ricky Giles, for whom Steele played two seasons ago. "That it was the biggest lie you could ever tell."

    Pasco honors student

    By most accounts, Steele was no street thug.

    Except for a routine traffic offense, his record was clean. He was an honors student at Pasco High School.

    Alfredie Steele Sr., 42, said Tuesday that his son was a good kid.

    "Fredie is real good people," the elder Steele said. "... Got along with everybody. I know he didn't cause any trouble. Anything he could do to avoid trouble, he did."

    That's more than just a father's pride talking.

    "He was always a lovable kid," said Giles, who is also a guidance counselor, "a kid that always brought happiness to everything around him. Never sad.

    But then, his friends started dying.

    Steele began to spell out his sadness on his arms.

    Steele has the letters "MAR" tattooed on his right arm and "RIP" and "GRP" on his left.

    "Everybody knew what they stood for," said Brittany Pope, 13. The initials stood for Michael Anthony Reed and Garion "Red" Pope.

    Pope, Steele's close friend and football teammate at Pasco High was killed in a car accident in February.

    Brittany is Pope's cousin. She said Steele, Reed and Pope were very close.

    "They used to go everywhere together," Brittany said Tuesday. "Mike and Honcho (Steele) came around here a lot. They were like family to us."

    Their deaths devasted Steele, Brittany said.

    "He took it the hardest," Brittany said of the deaths. "He couldn't deal with it. He used to always come around here. Now you don't see him no more."

    The death of "MAR'

    On May 10, a sheriff's deputy tried to pull over Michael Reed after noticing the license tag didn't match the car he was driving. Reed fled, the deputy gave chase. Reed slammed into a tree and was ejected through the windshield.

    As he lay fatally injured beside his white Chevrolet, a crowd started to gather.

    Word of the crash had spread quickly through the neighborhood. The 75 to 100 people that came to the scene included Reed's family and friends. Many were furious that a sheriff's deputy had been chasing Reed when he crashed.

    They were further angered because the deputy put a handcuff on Reed's wrist and because deputies would not let them get close to Reed.

    The crowd yelled profanity and threats to the deputies.

    Days later, sheriff's officials forbade deputies from responding alone to calls in Lacoochee.

    Some in the neighborhood wear T-shirts in memorial to Reed. Mona Jackson, 24, sat on her front porch wearing one Tuesday.

    "Everybody's got a shirt like this, everybody around," Jackson said.

    Harrison is shot
    Three weeks after Reed's death, Lt. Harrison was on what should have been a routine stake-out in Lacoochee, with about two weeks to go from retiring from a 30-year career.

    Shortly after 2 a.m., there was a shot. Fellow deputies surveilling the Rumors nightclub checked on Harrison and found him dead.

    Within a day of Harrison's death, deputies came looking for Steele.

    According to arrest reports, the man who tipped investigators to Steele was his cousin, Nathaniel Daniel "Nate" Vanzant, a 23-year-old Lacoochee felon who lists the same addresses as Steele in court records.

    On Monday night, patrol cars rolled into the community to take Steele from his family.

    "Every bit of six or seven cops yesterday evening searched the trailer and searched the cars," said family friend Marvis Hambrick. "They even took a .30-.30 out of one of the cars."

    The detectives stood by as the family hugged and cried, Hambrick said.

    "They just put him in the car," she said. "Fredie was in the front seat."

    Officials led Steele about 1 p.m. Tuesday to a video camera at the county jail in Land O'Lakes, transmitting his image to Pasco County Judge Debra Roberts in New Port Richey for his first court appearance.

    He meekly raised a shackled wrist and swore to tell the truth.

    Roberts found probable cause for the arrest on suspicion of homicide, and then asked Steele whether he had any money.

    "No ma'am," Steele said, explaining that he didn't have a job and received money from his brother.

    Dade City criminal defense lawyer Kimberly Coward stood beside him, invoking Steele's right to remain silent. She asked that authorities cease attempts to question him further.

    Roberts ordered Steele held without bail.

    Word of an arrest brought little comfort to Harrison's family.

    "The only thing my family and I are doing right now is praying for that family," said Sandy Harrison, the lieutenant's daughter.

    She knew Steele's family and said she and her relatives planned to meet with them Tuesday.

    "Justice is justice and it has to prevail, but no, it doesn't bring my daddy back," Harrison said.

    Hambrick's daughter, Fay, sympathized with both families.

    She and her siblings grew up with the Steele children.

    "It's terribly sad for Bo's family. They lost their dad and the neighborhood lost a great guy," she said. "It's also sad for the community and for Fredie's mother. She lost her son and we lost (someone) like a brother. It's a lose-lose situation."

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  • captstanm1
    Police Arrest Suspect

    BREAKING NEWS---Bay News 9

    Lacoochee teenager arrested for killing of Pasco County Sheriff's deputyTuesday, June 3rd

    Harrison was gunned down in Lacoochee early Sunday morning.
    The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office has made an arrest in the killing of Lt. Charles ‘Bo’ Harrison.

    Alfredie Steele Jr., 19, of Lacoochee was taken into custody Tuesday at approximately 9:30 a.m. after deputies received a tip from the public.

    The suspect allegedly bragged to a friend about the Sunday morning shooting and the friend called police. Steele is being held at the Land O'Lakes detention center.

    Harrison, 57, was shot and killed from behind by a high-powered rifle as he sat in his police cruiser early Sunday morning in Lacoochee.

    Several Bay area law enforcement agencies took part in the investigation. Pasco County Sheriff Bob White discussed the case during an afternoon news conference.

    "Although we have made this arrest, we must continue to work together with each community throughout Pasco County to ensure this type of tragedy never happens again," said Pasco Sheriff Bob White. "We owe that to Lt. Bo Harrison."

    Harrison was the highest-ranking black officer in the department and the first Pasco deputy to be killed in the line of duty since 1922 when a deputy and a federal revenue agent were slain while investigating a moonshine operation during the Prohabition era.

    The 31-year law enforcement veteran was a road patrol supervisor and was less than two weeks away from retiring.

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  • captstanm1

    The deputy was shot from behind from a patch of woods with what police describe as a high powered rifle. Here is the link to the updated story.


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  • captstanm1
    Updated Story

    Here is the link to the latest information.


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  • Pasco County Fla--Sheriff's Deputy Shot to Death Sitting in Patrol Car

    This incident occured in the same area where police officers had chased a man several weeks ago. The result was an accident that left the suspect dead. A large crowd gathered at the incident and threats were made against the police officers. The suspect's family alleged that the Deputies did nothing to provide CPR or First Aid to the man that was ejected from his vehicle.
    Pasco deputy found fatally shot in patrol car

    Pasco County deputy sheriff Lt. Charles "Bo" Harrison was shot dead early today as he and other deputies investigated a report of gunshots being fired, officials said. Harrison, 57 and a father of three, was found dead inside his patrol car. He was one of several deputies who had responded to a report around 2 a.m. that shots had been fired at the Farm Basket Store on U.S. 301 in the Lacoochee area. Sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said that Harrison had remained across the street while the other deputies had gone behind the grocery store. When they returned, they found him inside his patrol car, dead of what initially was thought to be a heart attack, until a wound was discovered in his back. Harrison was taken to Dade City Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A 31-year veteran of the department, Harrison was the the highest-ranking black deputy in the sheriff's office and was 10 days from retirement. A massive manhunt today had not yielded any arrests by nightfall. --Times staff

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