Monday, January 14, 2008

Shoot! He's Guilty!

Police were engaged in a volley of gunfire with three suspects Saturday night, killing one of them after stopping a car for speeding in a routine traffic violation. The suspect died Sunday morning.

Later, police learned that the suspects, described as "three Hispanic males," had robbed the Wauchula Hills Super Market.

The other two gunmen fled into nearby woods and are still at large, police said. Two bullet holes pierced the police car. Neither police officer was injured. A FDLE investigation is ongoing.

1. How many cops? Which city's finest shot a man during a "routine traffic violation?" Is speeding a routine traffic violation in Zolfo Springs? Was the injured man given medical assistance? Where did he die?

2. Killing someone for a traffic violation is fairly serious. How did this come about? What is the name of the policeperson who shot the traffic violator? Did the driver or a passenger pull a gun?

3. Why are the men at the traffic stop "suspects" if police didn't learn until later a store had been robbed? How does Sun Correspondent Chip Ballard know these three men had robbed the store? There's been no trial, but our citizen reporter has convicted them in the second graf -- and no copy editor caught it.

4. What was taken in the robbery? What's the address of the market? Who was on duty at the store? Time?

5. FDLE is a first reference; spell it out. What's being investigated: the robbery, the "routine" traffic stop, the police shooting, or all of it? When is a report expected?

6. What's the dead man's name? It has been more than 24 hours since Saturday night -- plenty of time to track it down.

Chip Ballard is a local scribe, specializing in country nostalgia and Elvis bios. Some might classify him as a "regional colorist," right up there with Sarah Orne Jewett. But covering the crackerbarrel and the police blotter require distinctly different writing techniques. Before asking Ballard to cover a sensitive local beat, perhaps Sun editors should offer to train the tyro. There's a story with a coherent narrative buried in here somewhere. Readers would appreciate getting that report.

Memo: Make it Local! ...

Local Residents tour $20-million addition to DMH

Local residents got their first look at DeSoto Memorial Hospital's new state-of-the-art, $20-million addition during a gala showcase Saturday.

"DeSoto County has somerthing to be very proud of," local entrepreneur and stylist Linda Summers said.

Local retiree Pat Gordon said, "I'm very impressed."

Who's Editing the Editors?Editor Dawn Krebs writes: "Overstuffed loveseats and soft accents give the area a ambiance that you stepped into someone's living room."

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