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Historic Shoot-Out In Clearwater Compels Lawsuit By Police Officer

On the day after Christmas in 2018, one of Clearwater’s worst shoot-outs put four police officers in harm’s way. On September 21, 2022, one of those officers filed an amended legal complaint suing the owner of the strip center where the shoot-out occurred.

CLEARWATER, Fla. – On the day after Christmas in 2018, one of Clearwater’s worst shoot-outs put four police officers in harm’s way. On September 21, 2022, one of those officers filed an amended legal complaint suing the owner of the strip center where the shoot-out occurred.

Former Clearwater police officer, Zachary Senter, who was hired in 2017, alleges that Jorge Annexy, owner of 1446 Gulf to Bay, LLC was negligent in his property affairs which caused him great harm.

According to the lawsuit, Annexy allowed Wayne Falana, a notorious drug dealer, to illegally live on the commercially-zoned property and operate several shell businesses serving as Falana’s base of operations “for nefarious purposes.”

Those businesses were listed in the suit as Wayne Denard Faland, Jr., LLC, Name Brand Entertainment Group, LLC, Diamond Mine Boutique, LLC, and Pyramid Currency Investment, LLC.

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The lawsuit states, “At all times material hereto, Defendant, JORGE ANNEXY, knew or should have known Wayne Falana had a notorious reputation in the local community and a public background search would have revealed 84 criminal and traffic infractions against Wayne Falana in Pinellas County alone…At all times material hereto, Defendant, 1446, knew or should have known there were nearly 200 calls to law enforcement to the subject cluster of properties owned by Defendant, 1446, over the course of the four year period prior to the subject incident for a variety of concerns from members of the community pertaining to Wayne Falana.”

The shoot-out began with a domestic violence call to the police from Falana’s girlfriend.

When the police officers arrived, she acted suspicious according to the suit, and would not exit Annexy’s commercial building.

Immediately, shots were fired from Falana located inside Annexy’s property towards the police officers.  Senter and another police officer collectively engaged in gunfire and killed him.

Senter does not detail his specific ailments from the incident, but generally describes physical issues and traumatic psychological and psychiatric harm. He also states he is too incapacitated to work.  

Among other things, Annexy is blamed for failing to conduct a background check on Falana, failing to provide security and warnings of potential harm, and failing to deter crime and evict or reprimand Falana as a dangerous tenant, among other deficiencies.

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Joshua M. Dreschel, a St. Petersburg attorney is representing Senter in the case. He did not respond to an inquiry for comment.

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