Cops: Man Fired at Pool Cleaner in 'Lawful but Awful' Incident

Under Florida's 'stand your ground' law, no charges for man who says he thought there was an intruder
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2023 7:33 AM CDT
Cops: Man Fired at Pool Cleaner in 'Lawful but Awful' Incident
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Igor Vershinsky)

No charges will be filed against a Florida man who fired 30 rounds from his AR-15 at his pool cleaner, thinking the man was an intruder, authorities say. According to Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, 43-year-old Jana Hocevar heard noise coming from the lanai at her Dunedin home at around 9pm on June 15 while watching a movie with her 57-year-old husband, Bradley Hocevar, reports the Tampa Bay Times. When she next saw a strange man she didn't recognize near her sliding glass doors, Jana Hocevar called 911, while Bradley Hocevar yelled at the man to leave the premises, Gualtieri says.

That man, 33-year-old Karl Polek, was actually a pool cleaner for Bay Area Pool Techs, and Gualtieri says that when he returned with a flashlight from his vehicle and approached the Hocevars' door to leave some paperwork, Bradley Hocevar started firing with an AR-15 rifle. He fired 30 rounds through the sliding glass door in about a minute and a half, pausing twice while his wife and the 911 dispatcher begged him to stop shooting, per the sheriff. Polek had run away after the first two rounds, but the Hocevars couldn't see that, as the blinds were closed and they were hiding behind a couch, said Gualtieri.

The sheriff says Polek had never shown up after dark over the past six months he'd been cleaning the Hocevars' pool. The couple told investigators that their pool is usually serviced on Thursday or Friday afternoons; Polek told cops that he'd been running behind schedule on that particular Thursday, hence the evening arrival, per FOX 13. Polek conceded to authorities that he hadn't called the Hocevars or knocked on their door to let them know he was there, reports WTSP. It also appears that, as he searched for the pool deck lights, he hadn't heard Bradley Hocevar yelling.

story continues below

No bullets hit Polek, though he suffered minor injuries from being hit with sharpnel and glass shards. Bradley Hocevar, meanwhile, won't be charged, as Gualtieri says he's covered under Florida's "stand your ground" law, which allows people to use force to prevent what they believe will cause serious harm or death to themselves or others. "There was no crime committed," Gualtieri said at the news conference. "This is one of those situations we call lawful but awful." (More shooting stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.