Trooper who shot man on motorcycle investigated before | News
Pinellas Park, Florida - Donna Ballard says she can remember like it was yesterday when Danielle Maudsley moved into her Largo neighborhood.
Ballard says, "We're best friends but more sisters than anything." They were 9-years-old then. She laughs as she says, "She was crazy. She was always spontaneous always made you laugh."
Danielle's laughter was cut short after images captured on a police cruiser's dash cam in September of last year show her running from the Florida Highway Patrol's substation in Pinellas Park. She was still in handcuffs when Trooper Daniel Cole deploys his taser, shooting her in the back. She falls and her head slams into the ground.
Ballard says, "I cried, it just drew tears to my eyes."
Danielle is in a vegetative state and Ballard says she is breathing on her own, but she can't walk or talk. Sunday she spent her 21st birthday in a nursing home.
Ballard adds, "And it's really upsetting." She adds what's even more upsetting is that Trooper Cole was cleared for any wrongdoing in Danielle's incident.
Monday, investigators say Cole shot a man on a motorcycle early in the morning in a Pinellas Park cemetery. Ballard says, "I think that he should be put away or fired from his job. Because obviously it's an ongoing thing. He's always doing something or messing up somehow. "
But investigators aren't going that far. They say Trooper Cole was working on a tip about a property crime and had been told to look for suspicious activity near the back of the cemetery.
Cole called for backup and walked into the cemetery with two Pinellas Park Police officers. As the three approached a large workshop, they say a suspect with a gun came into view. Detectives say Trooper Cole fired at least one shot.
Cole has been under investigation before. Back in 2001 he was put on administrative leave for shooting a Pinellas County man after he refused to put up his hands during a traffic stop over a broken tail light. An internal affairs report shows he was "exonerated."
While investigators try to figure out if Monday's shooting was justified, Ballard says she'll focus on her friend. "I hope a miracle will happen and she'll be the same Danielle as she was always."
More Daniel Cole stories:
I Needed to Stop Her: FHP Trooper Cole on Tasing Danielle Maudsley
Photo Gallery: Dash cam images of woman's Tasing
Trooper Cleared: Trooper cleared in tasing that left woman in coma