THE SAUNA JOURNAL NATION THURSDAY, MAY 21. 1998 AS- T OFFICER SHOOTING Man who killed three officers was time bomb Neighbors, authorities tell of violent past that preceded Tuesday's killing rampage By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN, JO BECKER and GEOFF DOUGHERTY St. Petersburg Times TAMPA, Fla. — Most people who knew Hank Earl Carr could hear the time bomb ticking. He bit ears during bar fights and liked to brag about running from the law. He was accused of stomping puppies to death and shooting neighbors' dogs. He had a lengthy rap sheet and was wanted in two states. And recently, authorities had investigated two complaints that he beat his girlfriend's 4-year-old son, the boy whose shooting death started a day of violence that ended with the deaths of three police officers and Carr. While Tampa is still in shock from Carr's rage, people in Marietta, Ohio, the quiet community where Carr spent several years, said they saw it coming. "We were surprised that we hadn't heard something about him lately," said Jeff Seevers, a detective with the Wash- "Apparently he had stomped a puppy to death in front of some kids." Jeff Seevers Florida sheriff's office detective ington County Sheriffs Office. "Something violent." Carr was walking danger, those who knew him said, a 30-year-old martial-arts expert who couldn't keep a job or stay out of trouble. Born in Atlanta, he drifted from place to place and woman to woman, often giving people different names and different stories about where he had been. He got his nickname, Boo, by sneaking up on people and scaring them. Signs of Carr's anger date to the mid- 1980s, when his name started to pop up with increasing frequency on jail logs in Sarasota County. It's not clear where he grew up, but jail records from Sarasota indicate he spent some of his teen-age years there. In 1986, Carr was sent to prison for burglary and assault. He was released early but was back in prison less than a year later for violating probation, said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Ginny Maddox. Carr was behind bars again in April 1989, this time for 41/2 years on drug charges and hitting a police officer. The next year he was set free as part of the state's provisional release program. But before the year ended, Carr would lash out again. In December 1990 when he was living in east Tampa, he attacked a man in his house and threatened "to gut" him with a dagger. He was charged with aggravated assault, his 22nd arrest in five years, and sentenced to two years of house arrest. It was while serving that sentence, Maddox said, that Carr disappeared. A warrant in Tampa was issued for his arrest on Feb. 25,1992. Florida officials lost contact with him, but Carr soon surfaced, violently, in Marietta, a town of 15,000 people in southeastern Ohio. "Apparently he had stomped a puppy to death in front of some kids," Seevers said. "That information was so unusual that it was given to one of our detectives." Because of that, detectives soon "He had a ponytail and an attitude. I just stayed away from him." William Carpenter former neighbor learned about his reputation in Florida. In addition to his prison time, Carr was also suspected of stabbing an 18-year-old girl and leaving her dead in a Sarasota cemetery, Seevers said. Carr was questioned about the murder and asked to submit blood samples but was never charged. Sarasota officials could not confirm Seevers' account Tuesday. Carr lived in St. Petersburg for a stretch 10 years ago and fathered a son with Kathy Stevens, who moved with Carr to Georgia and stayed with him for a year. "He was conniving and very threatening," Stevens said. "He would stalk you and then do something." Neighbors everywhere grew to fear the man with thick arms and thinning brown hair. "He had a ponytail and an attitude," said William Carpenter, who lived next door to Carr in Marietta. "I just stayed away from him." Shortly before he left Ohio, Carr met • Bernice "Denise" Bowen, a married woman with two young children. After ' Bowen and Joseph Bennett divorced, she started seeing Bennett. Bowen and Bennett divorced, and she' ;•' started seeing Carr about the same time she was paid a large settlement from a hospital that had allegedly misdiagnosed her father, said Joseph Bennett's mother, Shelba Jean Bennett. "That way ... there'd be no trouble," said Joseph Bennet's mother, Shelba Jean Bennett. "Looks like we was wrong." The couple's Tampa neighbors reported hearing the couple fight and watching Carr get violent. Mike Foy said another resident told him Carr shot a neighbor's ' dog. Another remembered him showing off his expansive collection of pistols and rifles and talking about outrunning the cops. "He'd go off on a story about running from the cops having shootouts with the cops in different states," said Patricia ' . Mercer, 22, who lives on Crenshaw. "He's a control freak mental crazy." '' T TRAIN SAFETY Amtrak conductor sees plenty of death Operation Lifesaver aims to reduce number of fatalities on tracks By Albany Times Union RENSSELAER, N.Y. — Amtrak conductor Bill Farrell has seen his share of people killed. "I've been on the road eight years now, and I've had 10 fatalities," Farrell said Tuesday aboard a special Amtrak passenger train. The last person, walking on a set of tracks in Harlem, never heard the train coming. He died instantly. "Sometimes, they get this deer- in-the-headlights look. They freeze. "The first two times, it's really hard," Farrell said, speaking with the hardened meter of a paramedic. "After that you get used to it." The special train he rode was part of Operation Lifesaver, a state-sponsored program to stress highway rail safety to police offi- T ROAD SAFETY cers. Twice on Tuesday, the train loaded up with police officers and a few judges from about 18 upstate New York towns, cities and counties and took a 45-mile trip to demonstrate the dangers a moving train poses to the thousands of drivers, snowmobilers and hunters who illegally cross the tracks each year. The nationwide program was founded in 1972 by two railroad engineers to increase public awareness of train crossings. New York's program, called "Officer on a Train," began in 1982. In New York, train collisions killed 16 people last year, said Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Richard Jackson. In 1996, 4,257 train-track accidents killed 488 people, a 20 percent decrease from 1994, and injured another 1,610, nearly 17 percent fewer than two years before, according to the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee. "Just about everybody in our crew has had an incident at one time or another," Farrell said. More accidents caused by running red lights By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Drivers who run red lights cause a quarter-million traffic crashes a year and a growing number of deaths, according to a study released Wednesday. The number of fatal crashes involving red-light running has increased 15 percent, from 702 in 1992 to 809 in 1996, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said. From 1992 through 1996, there were 3,753 crashes caused by a motorist running a red light — about 3 percent of all fatal crashes. Those crashes killed 4,238 people, said study researcher Richard Retting. DON LOADER INTERIORS 112 North Santa Fe • Downtown Salina t"^ (785)823-9156 • Mon. - Fri. 9am-5pm U—— BILLS The Mighty Last month, Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater announced a nationwide campaign to educate drivers about the problem and install more cameras at intersections to catch offenders. Phoenix had the highest percentage of such crashes among large cities: 8.11 per 100,000 people. 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