Giancola arrested, stabbing victims' identities released | News
Lealman, Florida -- A former middle school principal who was busted in 2007 for crack cocaine use was taken into custody for going on a crime spree that left two people dead, and eight more injured.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said they had Anthony Giancola, 45, in custody earlier in the day Friday, but announced shortly after 8:30 p.m. that they officially arrested him.
He has been arrested on two counts of First Degree Murder and two counts of Attempted Murder for the stabbings that took place around 10:30 a.m.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says Giancola is responsible for a total of four crime scenes, all targeted in 30 minutes.
"This is the worst of the worst, and does appear to be random," says Gualtieri. Investigators say Giancola appears to have been high on drugs and possibly alcohol at the time.
Giancola's alleged crime spree began at 5100 35th Way North in Lealman, at a home for people who are hearing impaired. Deputies say he entered the home with a large knife around 10:30 a.m. and stabbed a man, killing him. Deputies say he then stabbed three other adults. One of them, a woman, later died at the hospital.
Gualtieri says a deaf man living in the home was able to fight Giancola off. Giancola dropped the knife on the front porch.
Deputies have released the identities of the victims at the first crime scene:
- Justin Lee Vandenburgh, 27, deceased
- Mary Anne Allis, 59, deceased
- Danielle Whitney Gilbert, 25, injured
- Janice Denise Rhoden, 43, injured
After Ginacola left the Lealman home, deputies say he headed for the Kenvins Motel off Haines Road in Pinellas Park.
There he allegedly used a microwave to beat a husband and a wife, and then switched vehicles. Both victims were taken to Bayfront Medical Center.
Next, authorities say Giancola pulled up in front of a duplex and asked residents where he could find women. After the residents told him to go away, he crashed his car into their porch. He also hit a 13-year-old boy on a bike as he was fleeing. Three women who were on the porch were hospitalized, while the teen was treated at the scene.
After fleeing the scene, Giancola went to his mother's house.
Sheriff Gualtieri says, "He was bloody, and obviously been in a fight or a confrontation. He told his mother she'd be very proud of him; he just killed 10 drug dealers."
Giancola then flees his mother's house, but K-9 deputies found him hiding in the brush nearby.
Detectives are waiting for him to come off his apparent drug high before questioning him.
Giancola is a former principal at Van Buren Middle School. He lost his job after his arrest and conviction for buying crack from an undercover officer in 2007. He was arrested again in 2010 for loitering and prowling.
10 News has done several stories in the past on Giancola:
- 2/22/07 - Principal apologizes after arrest
- 2/23/07 - Principal arrested on drug charges
- 2/23/07 - Letter sent home to parents about principal's arrest
- 5/16/07 - Principal negotiates plea deal
- 6/12/07 - Principal pleads guilty
- 7/2/07 - Surveillance video shows drug bust
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