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Apollo Beach man shot dead after threatening neighbor, cops say

TBO.com
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 06:04 PM

An Apollo Beach man shot and killed his neighbor, who was threatening to cut his throat with a knife after a dispute over yard signs, deputies said.

John E. Gallik, 52, of 119 Silver Falls Drive, died at the scene from a single gunshot wound to the upper torso, said Larry McKinnon, spokesman for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

David Cockerham, 57, of 110 Silver Falls Drive, has a concealed weapons permit and was not charged in the shooting, McKinnon said. He was released by deputies, pending an investigating and final ruling by the State Attorney's Office, McKinnon said.

Cockerham was walking his dog on the sidewalk on Silver Falls Drive about 6 p.m. When he passed in front of Gallik's home, Cockerham's dog became startled and knocked over a sign in that was partially blocking the sidewalk, McKinnon said.

When Cockerham tried to move the sign out of the way and control his dog, Gallik came out of his home and charged at his neighbor, yelling profanities, McKinnon said.

Cockerham stepped backwards and Gallik pulled a butterfly knife from his right pocket, McKinnon said.

Gallik started waiving and thrusting the knife at Cockerham and threatened to cut his throat, McKinnon said.

Gallik kept waving the knife and again charged at Cockerham, McKinnon said.

In fear for his life, Cockerham pulled a .38 caliber revolver from his right front pocket and fired a single shot at Gallik, striking him in the upper torso, McKinnon said.

Cockerham called 911 and waited at the scene for deputies to arrive.

Detectives are investigating if the two men had a history of disputes.

Some neighbors at the Del Webb South Shore Falls subdivision said they have had problems in the past with Gallik. He didn't take care of his property, his house was in disrepair and his house was in foreclosure, neighbors said.

Stay with TBO.com for updates.

Tampa Tribune reporter JOSÉ PATIÑO GIRONA contributed to this report.

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