St. Petersburg double shooting was drug related says detectives

6:39 PM, Nov 8, 2012   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- Detectives say the double shooting of a St. Pete couple inside their home Wednesday night was drug related.

Officials say 58-year-old David Paonessa died after he was shot inside his home in the 2500 block of 68th Avenue North, but his wife 66-year-old Jane Bryant -- who was shot in the hip -- will survive.

According to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, two men entered the home and shot the couple before taking off in a white vehicle. A total of five people, including the victims, were inside the home at the time of the shooting.

"At this time, we believe that this was an incident where there were parties involved that knew each other, or knew of each other. We don't believe this was a random act, say on the par of a drive-by," says PCSO spokesperson Marianne Pasha.

Records show Paonessa and Bryant each have multiple arrests in recent years including charges of possession of cocaine. Paonessa was also arrested in 2009 for possession and sale of oxycodone.

Neighbors say it was not uncommon to see deputies at the home.

"The sheriff's office has been there a number of times and they just don't do anything about it, now that something's happened now hopefully something will be done," says Jim Cuttita, who lives two doors down.

"The cops are here at least once or twice a month, it's scary to live across the street from them," added Linda Conrad.

Conrad says it was a constant flow of people coming and going from the house and that problems were not uncommon either.

"Couple months ago there was somebody from across the street standing next to my Jeep naked."

Detectives say they are following up on several leads, but want anyone with information that could help them out to call the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office at 582-6200 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS.

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