Police in Florida arrest third suspect in stabbing of Steeler Mike Adams
Family members of a Hazelwood man, who eluded police for nearly two weeks since he was accused of stabbing Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Mike Adams, may face criminal charges that they helped him and hindered the investigation, authorities said on Friday.
Police said relatives drove Jerrell Whitlock, 26, his girlfriend, Precious Gethers, 25, and their 3-year-old son to Cleveland, helped them board a Greyhound bus to Lake City, Fla., and drove them 50 miles from Lake City to Gainesville, Fla., to escape apprehension.
“(Whitlock) told his family he wasn't going back to jail,” said Lt. Jack Kearney of the Allegheny County Sheriff's Office. Whitlock served a year in jail for a 2007 firearms conviction.
Officers of the Florida Regional Task Force and local police departments caught up with Whitlock on Friday in Gainesville, where they arrested him at about 11 a.m. after a struggle inside a hotel room. Kearney said officers had to use a Taser on Whitlock when he tried to escape out a back door and refused to comply with officers' demands to get on the ground.
He is charged with aggravated assault, attempted robbery of a motor vehicle and conspiracy.
Gethers of Carrick is charged with hindering apprehension and endangering the welfare of a child. Whitlock and Gethers are being held in the Alachua County (Fla.) jail, and authorities will transport them to Pittsburgh soon, Kearney said. The couple's child was found in the hotel room when police entered, but officials didn't specify who has custody of the child.
“This capture was only possible because of tips called into Crime Stoppers of Columbia County,” said Sgt. Ed Seifert of that Florida county's sheriff's office. “We cannot thank our community enough for their vigilance and willingness to get involved.”
Pittsburgh police said Adams' three attackers randomly targeted the Steelers projected right tackle about 3 a.m. on June 1 in the 1700 block of East Carson Street in the South Side.
Adams, 23, identified Whitlock in a photo array as the man who slashed his right forearm and stabbed him in the left side and stomach, according to an affidavit.
Michael Paranay, 25, and Dquay Means, 26, both of Hazelwood, are charged in connection with the attempted carjacking assault.
Police said Means pointed a handgun at Adams' head and demanded his Ford F-150 Raptor truck. Paranay then allegedly sucker-punched Adams in the face as Whitlock stabbed him. As the three ran from the scene, Paranay dropped his cellphone, police said — a key piece of evidence that investigators used to find him.
Adams underwent two surgeries for a lacerated colon in UPMC Mercy, Uptown, and has been released from the hospital.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.