Less than three months ago, John Kalisz received probation for aggravated assault with a weapon.  Now a police officer in a town near Gainesville, Florida is dead at his hand, along with two other victims.  An additional two women are seriously injured.


John Kalisz

The state of Florida certainly saved a bit of money when some judge in Hernando County decided to give Kalisz the following free pass last October: probation for a violent crime, rather than enforcing the law.  Elected officials are making noises about saving money by rolling back minimum mandatory sentencing and releasing more and more offenders directly back into their communities.

Now a bill has come due:

Carrying two loaded shotguns, Kalisz told his brother in Clearwater by phone that he would kill as many deputies as possible, Hernando sheriff’s officials said.  Kalisz pulled into a BP station at the intersection of U.S. 19 and County Road 351 in Cross City, [Captain Evan] Sullivan said, and came out shooting, hitting Dixie County sheriff’s Capt. Chad Reed in the face.  Reed, 33, died Thursday night. . . Reed, who formerly worked as the county’s emergency management director, was married with two young children. . . Reed recently graduated from the FBI National Academy.  “Capt. Reed was a fine man, a great law enforcement officer and a hometown boy in Dixie County,” Sullivan said.

A4S_capreedmug01151_103115dCaptain Chad Reed

Two women are also dead, one Kalisz’ sister:

The dead women were identified as Kathryn Donovan, 61, of 15303 Wilhelm Road and Deborah Buckley Tillotson, 59, of 12282 Old Chatman Road, Brooksville.  Records show that Donovan was Kalisz’s sister.

He also shot his niece and another victim who survived:

The injured women are Amy Wilson, 33, of 9539 Upland Drive, Hudson, and Manessa Donovan, 18, also of 15303 Wilhelm Road. She is the daughter of Kathryn Donovan.

What lesson did Kalisz learn from his last encounter with the criminal justice system?  He learned that he could attack someone with a weapon and get away with it.  Then he acted on that knowledge.  Will anybody in the courts now stand up, take responsibility, and call for a review of the policy (or violation of policy) that led to Kalisz being released the last time?  The murdered officer, who gave his life saving others, certainly deserves that type of respect.

And as legislators begin down the road of dismantling Florida’s extremely limited and effective minimum mandatory laws, they should remember these crimes.  There’s always a societal price for lenience, and it’s a hell of a lot higher that the cost of enforcing the law in the first place.

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