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Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014

Pinellas man charged in murder-for-hire revenge plot

Published:   |   Updated: June 17, 2014 at 07:09 PM

A Seminole man was arrested today, accused of hiring a gunman to shoot a Largo man he believed had spied on his girlfriend at a tanning salon, the Largo Police Department said.

The hired gunman’s shot hit the Largo man’s girlfriend in the leg instead, police said.

Michael Schmidt, 22, is charged with conspiracy to commit murder and attempted homicide. The charges stem from the February shooting of Kristen Gannon, 41, at her home at 13125 Wilcox Road in Largo.

Police said Gannon’s live-in boyfriend John Black, 36, was investigated by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in an alleged voyeurism case at a tanning salon involving Schmidt’s girlfriend, and that Schmidt was upset Black wasn’t arrested in the case.

On Feb. 20, someone knocked on Gannon’s door and asked to speak with Black, police said. The suspect briefly spoke to Gannon and Black outside their apartment and then fired once, striking Gannon in the leg, police said.

Justin Dahlstrom, 20, of Clearwater, was arrested by Largo Police detectives in May and charged with attempted homicide in the shooting, police said.

Minutes before the shooting took place, Schmidt was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on charges of impersonating an officer in order to get Black’s address, police said. Schmidt was interviewed by Largo detectives at the time, but denied involvement in the shooting.

Largo police used Schmidt’s phone records to see who he was in contact with the night of the shooting, which led them to a man to whom Schmidt offered money to shoot Black, police said. That man turned down the offer but passed it along to Dahlstrom, police said.

Detectives said Schmidt met with Dahlstrom before the shooting and provided the gun used to shoot Gannon.