Friday, April 27, 2012
By LAURA KINSLER | The Tampa Tribune
Published: April 26, 2012
Updated: April 26, 2012 - 4:46 PM
The man who shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself Wednesday at a Largo Walgreens parking lot was a longtime Pasco County firefighter.
James Ronald Wolski, 35, shot Stacie Diane Wolski, 40, and then shot himself, said Mike Loux, a spokesman for the Largo Police Department.
James Wolski had been a firefighter and paramedic for Pasco Fire Rescue since 2003. First responders at the scene recognized him immediately, Loux said.
"He was wearing a shirt that identified him as a firefighter," he said.
The shooting followed what appeared to be a domestic dispute between the couple as they drove along Roosevelt Boulevard, police said in a news release. A witness saw the couple arguing as their red pickup moved erratically, Loux said.
The pickup pulled into the Walgreens store at 2991 Roosevelt Blvd. James Wolski then shot his wife several times with a handgun and then went to the back of the truck and shot himself in the chest, Loux said.
Samantha Warren said she was in the Walgreens drive-thru about 12:30 p.m. when she heard a pop. She looked behind her and saw a pickup truck with both doors open and saw the man shoot the woman and then shoot himself.
Warren ran to the pickup to see if she could help the woman.
"I wish I could have done something for the woman, but she was gone," Warren said. "She took so many shots. She was gone."
Largo Police had no record of domestic disturbances between the couple, who had a 4-year-old daughter, Loux said.
Pasco Fire Rescue and the firefighters' union provided crisis counselors for department personnel, especially at the Shady Hills station where Wolski worked for a decade, according to Assistant Fire Chief Cynthia Holland.
"It's hard for us to wrap our head around," Holland said. "This is a very sad time for all of us, and our hearts go out to both families – but especially to their little girl."
Pasco County Personnel Director Barbara De Simone said Wolski was in good standing and had never been suspended or, to her knowledge, disciplined by the department.
This is the second time in less than six months a Pasco firefighter has been involved in a shooting. Last December, fire Capt. Louis Herrero, a 25-year-department veteran, was involved in a shooting outside his home after a four-hour standoff with sheriff's department SWAT team. He allegedly aimed a shotgun at the SWAT officers.
Herrero was charged with eight counts of felony aggravated assault on law enforcement officers.
"This has been a really difficult year for our department," Holland said.