Largo man nearly shoots man in bank parking lot

Victim: He pulled the trigger twice
Posted at 6:34 PM, Sep 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-27 18:34:03-04

A Largo man is facing charges of Aggravated Assault after pulling a gun on another man in the parking lot of a bank, then pulling the trigger.

Police say 28-year-old Justin Nelson committed the crime at the Navy Federal Credit Union on Roosevelt Boulevard around 11:40 a.m. during a dispute about a parking space.

"I said you need to watch where you're driving, you almost hit us." Chris Drotleff, who had the gun pulled on him, said.

Drotleff says it was a woman driving the car that Nelson was a passenger in, who started the confrontation. He says she nearly hit him and another woman, who were both walking, when she pulled into a parking space. He confronted her and she told Nelson to get out of the car.

"He reached into his pocket, pulled out a gun, leveled it to my face, from no more than 6 feet away and pulled the trigger." Drotleff said.

Drotleff claims Nelson racked the gun and pulled the trigger again. According to the police report, Nelson is accused of racking the gun, but not pulling the trigger a second time. Nelson is then accused of getting into the car with that woman and driving off.

Largo Police caught up with Nelson a short time later. They also found a gun that was reported to be stolen out of Orlando. Nelson bonded out of jail only hours after his arrest.

We met up with Nelson outside of his apartment about a mile and a half from the bank. He said he didn't know anything about the gun and refused to be interviewed.

"How at 1:30 you can try to murder somebody and by 8:00 you're back out walking the streets is absolutely dumbfounding to me." Drotleff said.

Largo Police responded to our questions about the charge by saying they arrest and charge people based on probable cause. The State Attorney's Office may decide to increase or add charges if they feel it's prudent.

The victim in this case has a long criminal history himself. He has a long history of misdemeanor arrests from several years back in Virginia. He also spent time in federal prison for a manslaughter conviction connected to his government contract work in Afghanistan. Just yesterday, the State Attorney's Office decided to go forward with misdemeanor battery charges against Drotleff connected to a road rage incident in St. Petersburg in April of this year.