Newspaper carrier -- a
concealed weapons permit holder -- shoots and injures man to stop a violent,
Originally ran here
"Newspaper carrier shoots, injures man"
by CATHI CARR and KATHY CIOTOLA
Gainesville Sun staff writers
Sunday, July 22, 2001
FLORIDA -- In the second such incident this week, a
Gainesville resident with a concealed weapon feared for his life and shot an
Derek Messer, a newspaper carrier for the
Florida Times-Union, shot and wounded a 20-year-old Gainesville man early
Saturday morning, after the man, along with four other suspects, dragged Messer
from his car and beat him, according to Gainesville Police.
Messer was driving in the 3800 block of NW 39th
Avenue at 3:15 a.m. when he noticed a car being driven erratically.
After calling police, Messer pursued the car
for about seven blocks while police units were en route. Once the driver - who
is unidentified - realized he was being followed by Messer, he pulled over, said
Gainesville Police Cpl. Keith Kameg.
Messer tried to put his car in reverse to get
away, but it stalled.
"Five guys get out and start running
toward Messer," Kameg said. "All five guys converged on him, breaking
the windshield and beating up his car."
As the suspects continued their attack, they
pulled Messer from the car, which is when Messer pulled his gun and shot, Kameg
Michael K. Coombs escaped serious injury after
Messer shot him in the side of the chest in the Valley subdivision on NW 39th
Within minutes of the shooting, police arrived
and captured the wounded Coombs and Austin M. Reed, 20, following a short foot
"Mr. Coombs is extremely lucky because the
bullet caused very minor damage," Kameg said. "He's very
Coombs, of Merritt Island, was later booked
into the Alachua County jail on charges of battery, burglary of a conveyance,
felony criminal mischief, resisting arrest without violence and possession of
marijuana of less than 20 grams.
All five suspects were arrested and charged
with battery for their roles in the incident, Gainesville Police said.
Messer suffered facial trauma in the incident
but was not seriously injured. Kameg said Messer had a valid concealed weapons
permit and will not be charged in the incident.
"If you have a concealed weapons permit,
that's what it's for," Kameg said. "In this case, it very easily saved
Reed, of 949 SW 56 Terrace, also was charged
with battery, felony criminal mischief, resisting arrest without violence and
burglary of a conveyance.
The other suspects included Richard L. Baker,
21, of Oxford Manor at 2777 Archer Road; Adam M. Smith, 21, of Cocoa Beach; and
Joseph F. Haney, 20.
They were each arrested and charged with
battery, burglary of a conveyance and felony criminal mischief. Damage to the
car was estimated at more than $1,000, Kameg said.
"They didn't realize the person they were
beating had a gun until he shot at them," Kameg said.
"The police aren't going to comment either
way on whether citizens should carry and use their weapons. But as far as
criminals go, when you're thinking about committing a crime, people may be
carrying weapons and this is a definite result of what could happen."
Exactly one week ago, a longtime friend of a
clerk at the Shell Food Mart at 3850 Newberry Road shot and killed a 27-year-old
Gainesville man who was attempting to rob the store.
Richard Connell, 63, was not charged in the
incident, which resulted in the death of Channing Michael Page, who was shot
three times in the upper torso by Connell.
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