Trooper who shot cemetery owner still not back on job

5:41 PM, Sep 14, 2012   |    comments
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Florida Highway Trooper Daniel Cole


Pinellas Park, Florida - It's a bizarre case that continues to raise eyebrows.  A veteran state trooper shot an innocent man early Monday morning at a Pinellas Park cemetery.

It turns out the man he shot was the cemetery owner, Clifford Work, who according to records, had every right to be there.

Work has remained at Bayfront Medical Center all week with his wife, Keri, by his side as he is recovering from a gunshot wound to the leg.  

This isn't the first time Trooper Daniel Cole has been involved in a violent situation.  Many people are now asking the question, will the Work family file a lawsuit against the Florida Highway Patrol after the shooting of an innocent man?

The family attorney, Todd Vargo, has given no indication that would happen.  However, the attorney who is from Birmingham, Alabama is on his way to Florida in a few days to meet with his client and FDLE investigators.

Trooper Cole's cruiser still sits in his driveway in Pinellas Park.  The 13-year veteran will be off the job and home with his wife and children for a bit longer. 

FHP told 10 News, "Because of the fanfare and negative press, Trooper Cole is not back yet and will now take some personal time."

The trooper has been involved in three violent confrontations in just over a decade.  He shot a minister, Richard Wilder, on a traffic stop in 2001 along Ulmerton Road as the pastor reached for a wallet.

Trooper Cole tazed an unarmed woman, Danielle Maudsley, just a year ago.  After she hit her head on the pavement when she was tazed, she's now in a vegetative state.  She turned 21 this past weekend.

Photo Gallery: Dash cam images of woman's Tasing

And, now there's the latest incident - this cemetery shooting where 48-year-old  Clifford Work was shot on his own property.

We went to the trooper's home Friday, but he didn't answer his door.  Some people are now asking, should Trooper Cole still have a job?  

Rod Reder, a former captain with Hillsborough County, gave us his thoughts.  He now runs his own investigative agency, Reder Investigations.

"Definitely areas of concern," Reder said.  "You know, that's what FDLE and then they'll have to work with the commander of the Highway Patrol as to whether he's suitable to continue on. It still gives you an itchy feeling, let's just scrutinize this person."

FDLE is doing just that.  They are going through all of Trooper Cole's records with extreme scrutiny to determine whether or not he'll remain on the force.

Clifford Work's attorney released a statement late Friday afternoon saying that once his client is released, that's when they'll meet with FDLE investigators.

As for the trooper, FHP will not confirm when he is coming back.

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