Veteran killed in hit-and-run; deputies search for suspect

- Deputies say a car ran over a veteran - killing him - and the driver just kept going.

Frankie McCray was killed at the intersection of 49th Street South and 11th Avenue South in Gulfport.

His friends and deputies all want to catch that driver, agreeing this was no way for a veteran to die.

"The truck kept going, flattened him and kept going, it never stopped,” said friend Darrin Paulding.

Just before 10:30 Wednesday night, Frankie McCray was headed to the store when Pinellas deputies say he was in the crosswalk of 49th Street South. That’s when he was hit by a dark colored truck that sped off.

McCray was then hit by a second passing car, whose driver did stop and cooperated with law enforcement. Co-workers at Dollar Deals Furniture, just down the block, are stunned.

"They said, ‘I didn't want to tell you, but I guess I will tell you. Frank is dead.’ I said, ‘Who?’ I said, ‘No, Frank isn't dead. I just dropped him off at 9:30,’" Paulding recalled.

Darrin Paulding believes he dropped McCray off at home just minutes before it happened.

"I will never see my friend again. He was a real nice person. Anything he can do, he would help you. He was with me seven days a week," Paulding explained.

McCray served seven years in the Army during the Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush years, and has numerous family members in the Gulfport, St. Pete area. He had a way, though, of making everyone feel close.

Paulding said, "Frank is like a brother to me."

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