Deputy Shot, Another Man Killed in Lealman Shooting
By ANNE LINDBERG, TB Reporter
The incident began as an argument over doughnuts, according to Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.
LEALMAN – Pinellas sheriff’s deputies have a man in custody after a shooting this morning that left one deputy wounded and another man dead.
Daniel Edward Kulwicki, 68, died of a shotgun wound to the forehead, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said. Deputy Michael Ficocelli, 30, was taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg for a gunshot wound to the back of his leg. He is in good condition, the sheriff said.
Gualtieri said the incident began this morning (March 15) as an argument between Jeffrey M. Falsey, 24, and his mother, Susan DiFabbio, 63, over doughnuts.
“Falsey wanted his mom to go get him doughnuts and she wouldn’t do that, so they started arguing,” Gualtieri said.
The argument escalated and deputies were called to the mobile home in the unincorporated Lealman area shortly after 9 a.m. DiFabbio left the mobile home and was not injured. When deputies approached the mobile home, a man they believe to have been Falsey told them to come in. Gualtieri said deputies sensed something was wrong and did not enter. That’s when Falsey began shooting through the door.
“You listen to your gut,” Gualtieri said. And it’s a good thing, he said, or “they would have been ambushed. … They would have been blasted” as they came through the door.
As deputies retreated, Gualtieri said, Falsey was watching them through a video camera.
“He was firing at them and tracking them,” Gualtieri said. “Fire. Fire. Fire.”
Ficocelli was shot as he tried to get to his cruiser to retrieve his rifle. After SWAT team members arrived, Falsey agreed to surrender. He was not injured.
“One way or another, we were going to get this thing resolved,” the sheriff said. “It was in his best interest to come out.”
Before he surrendered, Falsey told deputies he had killed Kulwicki, who was his mother’s fiance. When deputies entered the mobile home, they found Kulwicki dead in the living room of a shotgun blast to the forehead.
Falsey had what Gualtieri described as an “arsenal” that included a shotgun, semi-automatic weapons and a ton of ammunition. Gualtieri said he got the weapons from his father, who lives in St. Petersburg.
Gualtieri said the area near the mobile home resembled a battle zone. Cars had multiple bullet holes and windows shot out. And a family across the street, with seven children, told deputies they could hear the bullets hitting outside their home.
Gualtieri said Falsey was a “very problematic individual” who had a “significant history of mental health issues.” Falsey also had a problematic relationship with his mother and Mr. Kulwicki, who was a registered sex offender Falsey was arrested in January and charged with domestic battery after an argument with his mother. He was released on his own recognizance, according to Pinellas County jail records.
“He went off today over doughnuts,” Gualtieri said. “Something as silly as doughnuts.”
For information about the Pinellas sheriff, go to pcsoweb.com.
Photo of Jeffrey M. Falsey is from his January arrest. Photo of Daniel Kulwicki is courtesy of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
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