"I don't know what led the trooper to fire the rounds that he fired" - Sergeant Steve Gaskins
Pinellas Park, Florida - It's a bizarre mystery surrounding the Royal Palms cemetery and a Florida trooper who shot a man on a motorcycle on cemetery property. The question is what was the man doing there in the first place, and why he was shot?
Sgt. Steve Gaskins told 10 News, "Officers do not like to be involved in shootings, they do not want to take that step."
It is considered a big deal when four separate agencies are working a case in a cemetery at the same time. Today's incident involved Florida Highway Patrol, the Pinellas Sheriff's Office, Pinellas Park Police and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Investigators from all of these agencies surrounded the Royal Palms Cemetery early Monday morning after Trooper Daniel Cole shot a man around 6am, sources say.
He is the same trooper involved in a tazing incident that made national headlines. While Pinellas Park Police say the man on the motorcycle had a gun, FHP will not confirm it. FHP would also not comment on the man's bodily injuries or where he was shot.
Sgt. Gaskins said, "I don't know where [the trooper] fired."
Sources say that Trooper Cole got a LoJack hit in his cruiser, which is basically an alert system for stolen vehicles. And, he followed it, right to the cemetery.
In this case, 10 News has learned that the vehicle was a stolen motorcycle, carried away on a tarp, and that the cycle and its driver ended up in the cemetery somehow.
FHP says Trooper Cole came into contact with the motorcycle driver, feared for his life and fired his weapon.
Pinellas Park Police were called as back-up. The man who was shot is alive and recovering at Bayfront Medical Center. His name has not been released.
Sgt. Gaskins told the media, "It's a deadly force situation, he feared for his life and or death."
FHP says no charges have been filed against the suspect. Meanwhile, Trooper Cole will be on adminsitrative leave for three days. FDLE did not say how long its investigation would take.
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