Winter Haven Suspect Who Fired 4 Shots, Banged on Vehicle Window Shot 3 Times by Fearful Newspaper Carrier: Police

Brian Dickey, 23, faces pending charges aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and discharging a firearm in public, police said

Monday, May 13, 2013  |  Updated 5:52 PM EDT
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Brian Dickey in a photo from May 2011.

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A Winter Haven man who followed a newspaper delivery vehicle and fired four shots ended up in the hospital when a fearful carrier shot him three times, police said.

Brian Dickey, 23, of Winter Haven is at Lakeland Regional Medical Center in stable condition after the incident early Sunday on West Lake Cannon Terrace in Winter Haven, police said.

As soon as he is released, Dickey will be booked into the Polk County Jail on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and discharging a firearm in public, according to Winter Haven Police spokeswoman Jamie Brown.

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Dickey drank a large amount of alcohol earlier in the night before having an argument with his girlfriend, who called his brother Robert Dickey to the home at 2007 Ave. G NW to calm him down, according to police. But the brothers had a physical altercation, Brown said. Robert Dickey departed, and Brian Dickey took his .380 Bersa handgun and drove to find him in his 1996 Oldsmobile, police said in a statement.

At about 2:50 a.m., Dickey started following a vehicle that he thought was his brother’s vehicle, but which was actually the vehicle of Lakeland Ledger carriers Tiffany Simo, 24, and Douglas Romeo, 31, police said.

Simo and Romeo had just stopped their vehicle to put a few papers together to deliver when they heard four pops, which were rounds from Dickey’s gun, police said. He then banged on the driver’s side window with the gun and pointed it at them, demanding they open the door, police said.

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Romeo told police that he told the suspect to leave at least three times, according to a police report. Fearing for their lives, he fired through the window three times with a firearm he’d had in a lockbox, police said. He struck Dickey in three places, including just under his collarbone on the right side, none of which were life-threatening injuries, according to police.

Romeo has a valid Florida concealed weapons permit, police said.

"This guy got much more than he bargained for," Police Chief Gary Hester said in a statement. "These victims feared for their lives and did exactly what they needed to do. This could have turned out so much worse than it did."

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After the shooting Dickey left his car, police said.

After 911 calls were made, police found Dickey at his home about two-tenths of a mile away. He claimed to police that his brother had fired at him and that he had fired back at him – but Robert Dickey had nothing to do with the shooting, Brown said. After Robert Dickey left the home after their altercation, he didn’t encounter Brian Dickey again, she said.

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