PINELLAS PARK, Fla. - When journalists question law enforcement officers about a crime scene like the one at the Royal Palm Cemetery in Pinellas Park, the first statement is typically pretty generic, just like the one an FHP spokesman gave Monday afternoon.
"Trooper Daniel Cole of the Florida Highway Patrol, the Pinellas District, encountered a subject this morning," explained Sgt. Steve Gaskins. "He fired shots at the subject. The subject was struck."
Though reporters would typically follow that statement with questions which elicit more thorough answers, sometimes the answer is the same.
"That's not being released yet," Sgt. Gaskins answered.
When asked why an FHP officer was in a cemetery early in the morning, why he fired his gun at a suspect, why a white truck was riddled with bullet holes, or why the crime scene was active 12 hours after the shooting, Sgt. Gaskins gave few details.
Citing an ongoing investigation led by FDLE, Sgt. Gaskins would only confirm that 13-year veteran FHP Officer Daniel Cole fired his weapon Monday morning around 6am. The suspect was transported to Bayfront Hospital and is receiving treatment.
"When I saw, I was surprised. I saw the police officer cars," said Adam Ukperaj, visiting his daughter's grave Monday morning. "Since I've come here in 1998, first time I've seen cops."
LoJack stolen vehicle recovery crews assisted in the field investigation beside grave sites Monday afternoon, but FHP won't answer that question, either.
"It's probably part of the investigation with FDLE but I can't confirm that and I don't know any further why they are here."
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