Grady Judd: Pinellas man accused in violent carjacking, threatened to shoot deputies after crash

A Pinellas County man was behind bars Wednesday following a series of alleged crimes that began in St. Petersburg and ended in Polk County.

Cory Stowers, 35, is accused of first committing a violent carjacking of a pickup truck in an alleyway along 38th Avenue North in St. Pete early Tuesday morning.

"The [victim] was trying to go to work. He was going in his vehicle, putting his items in the car when he was approached by a man and a woman," said St. Pete police spokesperson Ashley Limardo, referring to the suspects, Cory and Crystal Stowers. "Suddenly [Cory Stowers and the victim] were toggling back and forth trying to get the keys. The gentleman did not want to give up his keys when, finally, the suspect then showed his weapon and then our victim decided to step away."

Pictured: Cory Stowers.

Hours later, the vehicle was spotted in Lakeland, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. Deputies began searching for the truck and tracked it down in the Lake Wales area.

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Judd said deputies tailed the vehicle through several communities before Cory Stowers crashed and flipped it. According to investigators, Crystal Stowers climbed through the broken windshield, but Cory Stowers wasn't ready to give up.

Pictured: Cory and Crystal Stowers. 

"He tells us, 'you come up here, I'm going to shoot you.' So now we have him boxed up in this truck that's stolen, tore to pieces, and we tell him quite eloquently, 'you point that gun at us, and it will be the last person you ever point a gun at,'" Judd told FOX 13. 

The sheriff said deputies, instead, set their dog, Odin, on Cory Stowers, helping authorities take him into custody. The sheriff said the suspect is fortunate he wasn't killed during the pursuit or after it.

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"Not only did they demolish the man's truck, but he put deputies at risk. He threatened to shoot them. He was actually pointing the gun out of the window in the direction of the deputies during the pursuit," Judd said. "They had every right legally to shoot him, but they didn't see that the imminent threat was going to be carried out."

Judd said, after 18 previous felony arrests and now this latest incident, Cory Stowers should be locked up for good.

"He needs to go to state prison for the rest of his life, or, mark my words…he will kill someone if he's allowed back out," the sheriff said.

According to Judd, both Cory and Crystal Stowers had been using methamphetamine prior to the incident. FOX 13 reached out to the carjacking victim, and he said he wasn't seriously hurt and is doing better.


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