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The Armed Citizen® | Tampa

The Armed Citizen® | Tampa

One of the largest metropolitan areas in the country, Tampa, Fla., has experienced a consistent decrease in crime. In 2015, the last year for which data was available, Tampa and surrounding areas saw a 4 percent drop in violent crime from the previous year, bringing it to the lowest levels since recordkeeping began in 1985. It’s likely that the implementation of concealed carry in 1987, along with the countless pro-freedom laws passed since then, has served as a deterrent to many would-be criminals. To find out what happened to some of the lawbreakers foolhardy enough to try their luck anyway, read on … 

A group of four armed men posing as police officers entered Marcelo’s Jewelry in Tampa, Fla., and attempted to rob the store. The store owner, Marcelo Suarez, noticed that the men were not police and retrieved a gun. Suarez and the robbers exchanged fire, before the criminals fled empty-handed. Police were unable to determine whether Suarez’s shots struck any of the robbers. Suarez was not harmed during the incident. (Tampa Bay Times, Tampa, Fla., 07/28/12) 

A grandmother was getting dressed at her home in Sarasota, Fla., when she heard a knock at the door. Unable to answer the door at that moment, the homeowner ignored the knock. A few minutes later an intruder wearing a bandana broke in through a glass door in the back of the house. Seeing the home invader, the homeowner retrieved a .38-cal. handgun and fired twice at the criminal, causing him to flee. The police were able to locate the burglar after an anonymous tip led them to a nearby hospital where he sought treatment for a gunshot wound to his arm. A recording of the homeowner’s phone call to 911 reveals that she took no pleasure in her actions, as she told a dispatcher, “I’m so sorry. I would never hurt someone, but I was fearful of my life.” (WTSP, Tampa Bay, Fla., 07/10/12; The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Sarasota, Fla., 07/10/12) 

When Anthony Mendolia of Plant City, Fla., found a burglar inside his home early Tuesday morning, he did not hesitate to shoot. Mendolia's 11-year-old daughter pretended to sleep under her covers as the burglar ransacked their house. The burglar fled after Mendolia encountered him and shot him in the foot, but was found by police in a neighbor's yard. The criminal was already sought after by police for a string of robberies, including breaking into a deputy's home last month and stealing a bulletproof vest, ammunition and other items, and will be charged with armed burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief for this latest crime. Mendolia's daughter had this message for the burglar: "I would say that you really get what you deserved today. You really deserved to be shot in the leg or foot or wherever you got shot. Seriously, you need to go to jail. You got problems." (10 News, Tampa Bay, Fla., 07/07/08) 

The hooded armed robber likely thought the older, female clerk would be an easy mark as he entered a Tampa convenience store, brandishing his gun and demanding money. He wasn't counting on confronting someone like Janet Grammer. The 64-year-old mother of 10, a former security guard, pulled her own gun from under the cash register and fired, hitting the criminal in the chest. "I think he thought I was an old woman and would just give him the money," Grammer said after the incident. "I think I scared the hell out of him. I thought he was getting ready to shoot me in the head. My life was at stake." Grammer, who also has 32 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren, later said she worried that she had killed the hospitalized assailant. "It was very upsetting. The good Lord had to be with me," she said. (The Tampa Tribune, Tampa, Fla., 07/28/12)

A liquor store clerk thwarted a robbery attempt at Latam Wines & Liquor in Tampa, Fla., when he grabbed a gun kept under the counter and aimed it at the crook. The robbery attempt occurred at 8:30 p.m. when a man wearing a bandana over his face entered the liquor store. The masked man approached the counter and pointed a gun at the clerk who, in turn, pulled out a gun and aimed it at the would-be robber. The masked man fled the store without shots being fired and took off in a late model Camaro or Trans Am. Three other men were in the vehicle when it sped off, according to police. (The Tampa Tribune, Tampa, Fla., 01/10/04) 

A Tampa, Fla., resident shot and wounded a man who attacked him as he entered his home early one morning. Michael Perdue was returning to his home at 5 a.m. when a masked man forced him inside the house. Perdue was able to retrieve his gun and shoot the intruder three times before the man fled. Albert Lee Jones was arrested hours later when he sought medical treatment for multiple gunshot wounds. Jones was charged with aggravated battery, attempted armed robbery and armed burglary. (The Tampa Tribune, Tampa, Fla., 06/09/03) 

Shortly after they returned home from an evening out, a Dunedin, Fla., man and his girlfriend were confronted by an armed prowler. The intruder, dressed in dark clothing and a black ski mask, apparently had entered the house through a back window near the pool, said Pinellas County Sheriff's spokeswoman Marianne Pasha. The robber pointed a gun at the couple and charged them. The homeowner responded to the threat by pulling his own firearm and firing several shots, killing the intruder. (The Tampa Tribune, Tampa, Fla., 08/09/01) 

Florida bartender Louis Place left work at the end of his shift one morning with his tips and a .40-cal. handgun he kept tucked in his waistband. As he was about to get into his truck, Place was accosted by four men, one of whom demanded, "Show me the money." The men kicked and punched Place, who attempted to cover himself and his handgun. But when he heard one man order another to grab his gun, Place pulled out the Smith & Wesson and fired several times. One attacker was hit in the leg and another sustained a wound to his buttocks. Police later caught all four thugs and charged them with robbery. Place, explaining his decision to carry discreetly, said, "I told [co-workers] I hoped I never had to shoot anyone, but I knew it was them or me." (The Tampa Tribune, Tampa, Fla., 04/29/00) 

A 74-year-old St. Petersburg, Fla., man answered his doorbell one night, but didn't hear a reply when he inquired about the visitor's identity. The next thing the resident heard was the sound of breaking glass at the back of his house. Acting to protect himself, the elderly man stood his ground as the break-in attempt continued. After the would-be burglar knocked out a door panel, the resident fired several shots from his .38-cal. handgun, sending the intruder fleeing. Police later caught the inept scofflaw. (The Tampa Tribune, Tampa, Fla., 11/02/99)