PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A man won’t face charges after he opened fire on a pool cleaner who he mistook for an intruder, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, the two homeowners called 911 around 9 p.m. on Sunday after spotting a man on their lanai.
The sheriff said the man was hired by the homeowners to clean their pool and had been working for them for around six months to a year.
The victim had been busy with other appointments and showed up at their home later than expected. Deputies said the pool cleaner did not notify the homeowners that he was coming that late at night. He usually stops by on Thursday or Friday afternoon, Gualtieri said.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, one of the homeowners said she was in the family room when she saw a man she did not recognize through the sliding glass doors. She locked the door and told her husband that a random person was on their property.
The homeowner yelled for the person to get out and go away. Then he heard noises. The woman called 911 while the man, a former Army lieutenant colonel, grabbed his AR-15 rifle from their bedroom closet and fired shots at the victim, who was on their pool deck with a flashlight, authorities said.
The sheriff said the flashlight made the homeowner think a burglar was entering his home. The husband fired two rounds through the sliding glass door, and the victim was hit by the glass.
He was unaware the victim had fled the backyard and fired additional rounds. He fired a total of 30 rounds in 90 seconds.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, the homeowner “acted within the law,” referring to the Stand Your Ground Law in Florida, so no crime occurred.
“It was lawful but awful,” the sheriff said.
The pool technician told WLFA he’s hired an attorney following the incident.