TOWN 'N COUNTRY — Thomas Baker went jogging after midnight one day in November, wearing a pistol loaded with hollow-point bullets. When a teen attacked him, he fired eight times.
Carlos Mustelier, 18, died. But prosecutors said Tuesday that Baker won't be charged. They were convinced he acted in self-defense.
Florida's "stand-your-ground" law was a factor in their decision, office spokesman Mark Cox said. Passed in 2005, the law gives people the right to use deadly force anywhere, as long as they "reasonably believe" the force is necessary to stop the other person from hurting them.
Baker told detectives Mustelier punched him in the face.
He thought Mustelier was armed, he reported in a videotaped interview, conducted about five hours after the shooting.
So Baker reached for his own gun.
"When you go running at night in the neighborhood, do you normally arm yourself with a firearm?" a detective asked.
"I always have it on me, unless I'm going to the courthouse," Baker replied.
Detectives corroborated his story through other interviews, made public Tuesday.
His brother and a friend told detectives that Baker usually jogged after midnight. Baker said he had been running for about a week and a half, trying to get in shape to join the military.
He's unemployed but told detectives he makes money fixing friends' cars. He had just been paid for car work and a part, he said, and that's why he had a lot of cash in his pocket, $950.
It was legal for him to carry a gun. Baker had a concealed weapon permit, good through May, records show.
The night of the shooting, Mustelier had walked to the Beverage King on Waters Avenue with a 16-year-old friend. On their way, they passed Baker. Mustelier told the friend he planned to rob Baker, according to the Sheriff's Office report.
After going to the store, they passed Baker again, and Mustelier said, "I'm gonna knock him out," according to the report.
That's when Mustelier lunged at Baker, swinging his fists, the report states.
The 16-year-old told detectives that Baker responded, "You wanna play games? You wanna play games?"
Baker said he was punched in the face. His lip was cut and his vision blurred, he told detectives.
That's when he grabbed his gun, he said in the recorded interview.
The 16-year-old ran. When he turned, he saw Mustelier standing in the middle of the street with a red laser dot on him.
Eight shots rang out. Four bullets hit Mustelier: one in the chest, two in the back and one in the buttocks.
He didn't have a pulse when authorities arrived.
The 16-year-old ran to a nearby house. Baker stayed. He willingly went with detectives to be interviewed, the report states, and he didn't bring a lawyer.
- Hillsborough County Sheriff Department
I just signed the following petition addressed to: Hillsborough County Sheriff Department.
Prosecute this man who killed Carlos
This is important because i believe this case was never taking seriously i believe that my brother's case should have never been taking that lightly because WE WAITED FOR JUSTICE AND JUSTICE DID NOT COME ! I believe Carlos case should have been taking more seriously. He was walking home to his best friends house to spend the night and Tom Baker claims that he was in harms way and that he was not sure which one of the two hit him but he shoot at him with a .45 with a laser and 8 times not only did he take a teens life away but some who was starting his life starting college and he took all that away from him I am fighting for this because i know that there are questions that were never answered and things that were never said I believe i can bring justice out. This man was not charged with anything or the young boy, but yet my brother is 6 feet under the ground and everyone else got away with this! Nothing was ever done ! and his family and friends have to live with a whole in there heats because of this ! He was not a THUG ! not ever teen is a thug HE WAS A VICTIM ! They asked me why i was i signing to re open my brother Carlos murder case and this is how i responded - This man is a killer on the streets you cant ignore the fact he killed a young man that had so much going for him. I knew Carlos personally he was a loving helpful friend a big brother who kept me out of trouble I looked up to him the night before tom killed him, Carlos talked about how he wanted to be a fireman and wanted to go to school to become a fireman and he didn't even get to reach his dream and the man got away for killing him where is the justice? cause frankly I don't see it we need to put a end to all this violence this man is a murderer killer monster who needs to pay the price for what he did just like everybody black white red or blue you do the crime and you pay the price. I thought that's how it worked this teenager was loved by many tom didn't just kill Carlos that night he killed everybody that loved him he was a angel before death i i just pray this man gets what he deserves the truth will come to the light God has a plan for all.
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