Next to Nazi 'Compound,' a Florida Boy is Murdered
The Florida media gave a gang of racist thugs in New Port Richey too much credit in describing their mobile home hangout at 9321 Teak Street as a neo-Nazi "compound."
"When I think of a compound, I think of acres of land," says Kevin Doll, public information director for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. "But this was a small lot with a fence around it, with Nazi propaganda up around the home."
The trailer, a single-family unit in the Griffin Park trailer community, contained four Nazi flags, a Confederate battle flag, and a swastika posted atop a wooden pole in the front yard.
According to police, the people who frequented the residence were hardened criminals notorious for heavy drinking, assaults, burglaries and heckling neighbors they suspected of associating with black people. The gang repeatedly harassed Patricia Wells, who lived two trailers down, for having a black boyfriend. On March 7, Brian "Zero" Buckley, the leader of the Teak Street neo-Nazis, broke into Wells' home after chasing her and banging down her door. No one was injured.
Then, near midnight on March 23, a man wearing a gas mask knocked on Wells' door, slashed her in the face and hand with a knife when she opened it, and went on to stab her son's 17-year-old friend, Kristofer King, to death.
When SWAT forces stormed the neo-Nazi trailer the day after the attack, only one gang member, John Ditullio, was found, along with Nazi paraphernalia and a bloody gas mask. Ditullio was arrested on an outstanding domestic violence warrant. According to a sheriff's report, he had beaten his girlfriend and forced her to say to his friends, "I am a race-traitor slut." Police later arrested Buckley for the March 7 break-in, gang member Shawn Plott for outstanding warrants, and the gang's treasurer, Cory Patnode, for violating probation by smuggling contraband into a county jail.
Police say all four are suspects in the assault and murder, but none were immediately charged. Patnode was released, but the others remained in jail at press time, including Plott, who was beaten by black inmates who took exception to his neo-Nazi tattoos.
Meanwhile, Doug Tobin, a spokesman for the Pasco County Sheriff's office said the "compound" had been shut down, and there's been no significant neo-Nazi activity in the Griffin Park neighborhood since the murder and subsequent arrests. Tobin said investigators have turned up no evidence the Teak Street Nazis were part of any larger hate group.
"They weren't card-carrying, sworn-to-allegiance men of any particular organization," he explained. Rather, they were just a "group of individuals that had the same type of ideology."