Stand Your Ground: Florida Man Faces No Charges After Firing 30 Rounds at His Pool Cleaner in 90 Seconds
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office says that Bradley Hocevar, 57, was within his rights when he decided to get his Colt M-4 carbine rifle and open fire on a man in the backyard who he could not see.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office says that Bradley Hocevar, 57, was within his rights when he decided to get his Colt M-4 carbine rifle and open fire on a man in the backyard who he could not see because his wife had locked the door and closed the blinds after first seeing the person in her backyard.
His wife was speaking with a 911 operator when the first shot went off, at which time Bradley was ordered to put the gun down, a message that his wife very clearly conveyed to him more than once.
The message was repeated again by the operator and his wife a few more times before Bradley decided to empty his magazine, despite his view to the backyard being obstructed by the curtain his wife had pulled closed over the sliding door.
“All they know is that [Jana] clearly saw a guy out there, heard noise, saw the guy coming toward the window, the blinds are shut, he had yelled at the guy to go away but the person was clearly still there,” said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. “At that point, he saw a flashlight coming toward the doors as if the person with the flashlight was coming into the house.”
The "guy" Jana saw and did not recognize was 33-year-old pool technician Karl Polek. He somehow managed to dodge all 30 round, but was struck by a shard of glass after the first bullet pierced through the sliding-glass door.
It turns out that Polek had been running behind schedule on the day in question and did not arrive to the couple's property until 9 p.m., at which point he got to work cleaning the pool.
"In hindsight, he should have probably let them know he was coming at 9 o’clock at night, yet he made no effort to contact them at all," said Gualiteri.
The couple did finally realize who the man was when deputies arrived on the scene and they noticed Polek's car in the front driveway.
Bradley's decision to open fire on the man paid to tend to his pool is protected under the castle doctrine. That allows anyone in the state of Florida to use deadly force when protecting their home and its inhabitants from intruders. It is more commonly referred to these days as "Stand Your Ground."
Polek suffered no serious injuries in the end as well and is recovering after receiving medical attention.
"It’s lawful but it’s just an awful set of circumstances," said Gualtieri.
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