Two lawsuits possible against Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Daniel Cole cleared in cemetery shooting

6:54 PM, Nov 8, 2012   |    comments
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Pinellas Park, Florida -- Trooper Daniel Cole has been with FHP for 13 years, and he's made headlines throughout his career at the agency - for shooting people.

The veteran state trooper has been involved in not one, not two, but three high profile shootings in more than a decade.  He shot an unarmed pastor 11 years ago, and last year he shot a tazer at an unarmed woman, leaving her in a vegetative state.

Photo Gallery: Dash cam images of woman's tasing

Then, back on Sept. 10, the trooper shot a 48-year-old at the Royal Palm North Cemetery in Pinellas Park.  It turns out, it was the cemetery owner, Clifford Work.

SEE ALSO: "Tazing" trooper shoots man on motorcycle in cemetery

An FDLE report was just released outlining the actions of the trooper that day. In the 119-page report, Cole was cleared of criminal charges and justified in the shooting.

In each of those shootings, the trooper has been cleared of criminal charges.

One former high-ranking member of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said, "It's unusual for an officer to fire his or her gun in an entire career. This many shootings? Something is wrong with this guy."

In the cemetery shooting, the trooper admits he fired his weapon 18 times an AR-15 assault rifle that he retrieved from his trunk. 

The trooper told FDLE agents, I was, "so uncomfortable and I was alone. I basically fired until I could no longer see him."

He continued, "It was the worst feeling ever and was just try to get out of the way of the bullet. I just knew I was getting a round in me."

But, here's something Work's attorney pointed out to 10 News.  There was no bullet.

The cemetery owner had a gun, but his attorney says, Work never fired it.

Todd Vargo, the Birmingham-based attorney for Work told 10 News, "He opened the door and was shot, so there was absolutely no statements of any inappropriate conduct on the part of Mr. Work. These shots only came in one direction. Mr. Work never fired his weapon, nor did he ever intend to fire his weapon."

Vargo continued, "Mr. Work did not, did not do anything, anything inappropriate or wrong during this fateful morning. Basically, he answered the door, responded, you know, with his, with a handgun in his hand and then was shot."

Clifford Work was shot in the right leg, and his attorney says, a lawsuit is possible.

In fact, Work says there were so many bullets fired by the trooper, it sounded like "firecrackers."

The husband and father-of-two yelled out to the trooper, "Stop shooting, stop shooting, I am the owner."

In the past, his wife, Keri, has thanked 10 News for "supporting my husband."

Vargo said, "Oh, I mean extremely terrifying. I mean, essentially he opens the door and a barrage of gunfire ensues upon him. Everyone is very aware that Mr. Work is very fortunate to be alive today, but yeah it was terrifying."

More Daniel Cole stories:

I Needed to Stop Her: FHP Trooper Cole on Tasing Danielle Maudsley

Trooper Cleared: Trooper cleared in tasing that left woman in coma


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