Published March 25, 2005
| Associated Press
SEMINOLE, Fla. – An Illinois man was arrested after trying to steal a weapon from a gun shop so he could "take some action and rescue Terri Schiavo (search)," authorities said.
Michael W. Mitchell (search), of Rockford, Ill., entered Randall's Firearms Inc. in Seminole just before 6 p.m. Thursday with a box cutter and tried to steal a gun, said Marianne Pasha, a spokeswoman for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
Mitchell, 50, told deputies he wanted to "take some action and rescue Terri Schiavo" after he visited the Pinellas Park (search) hospice where she lives, Pasha said.
The feeding tube that has kept Schiavo alive for more than a decade was removed March 18 over objections from her parents. Schiavo's husband has said his wife would not want to be kept alive artificially.
Doctors have said she would probably die within a week or two of the tube being pulled.
Randy McKenzie, the owner of Randall's Firearms, said Mitchell pulled out the box cutter and broke the glass on a couple of display cases.
"He told me if I wasn't on Terri's side then I wasn't on God's side, either," McKenzie told The Associated Press.
McKenzie said he then pointed his own gun at Mitchell and ordered him to lie on the ground. But Mitchell fled out the store's back door before police arrived, he said.
Mitchell was later arrested in a parking lot and was scheduled to appear in court Friday. He was being held on $125,000 bond on charges of attempted armed robbery, aggravated assault and criminal mischief, officials said.
It was not known if he had a lawyer.
Seminole is about 5 miles west of Pinellas Park.