Gregg and Rebecca Gordon have had trouble sleeping at the same time for almost two months now. In fact, the Gordons have been unable to sleep in the place they once called home.
"At this point in our lives, my wife said she’d rather sleep under a bridge or in the back seat of a car," Gregg said in an interview with Patch. "We went to bed that Monday night in a normal life and woke up Tuesday morning in a deathly" situation.
Just after 4 a.m. on Tuesday, June 19, Gregg was abruptly awakened by what he described as a cherry bomb exploding. Disoriented and barely awake, Gregg heard shouts of "police, police, police."
Gregg jumped up, initially thinking police were inside his house. Quickly, he realized that he and his wife were the victims of a home invasion.
Four armed suspects were in his bedroom demanding cash and jewelry.
The suspects, according to Gregg, surrounded the bed, pulled the drawer from his wife's nightstand and began to beat her with it.
Instinctively, Gregg jumped on top of his wife to shield her as he continued to get hit and kicked by the suspects. At that moment, both thought their lives were over.
"We started telling each other 'I love you' and 'good bye, I'll see you in heaven,' " Gregg said. "We literally thought we were dead."
Grabbing an undisclosed amount of cash and jewelry, the suspects fled the home, at 5800 1st St. N.
Since that night, the Gordons have not returned to their house. They cannot sleep at night. They relive the moment they awoke to a horrible nightmare that has shaken their sense of well being. There is sense of dread that won't leave.
They are staying at a friend's place in Tampa, with no intention to go back "home."
"For about a month, one of us was always awake," Gregg said. "If I was asleep my wife couldn’t sleep. We never both slept at the same time."
Just minutes after fleeing the Gordons' house, police say four suspects entered another home in the same neighborhood, at 7014 Orpine Dr. N. They shouted: "police, police, police."
During that home invasion, 41-year-old Richard Shaw was fatally shot. Shaw's life was violently cut short. The Gordon's miraculously survived.
"It drove the point home of how we probably still don’t fully grasp how close to death we were," Gregg said. "If anything had been different, any minute things had changed, it could have been us that died that night."
According to the police report, the two robberies appear to have the same suspects, given the location and similarities.
Gregg said he hopes that others will hear his story and take more precaution to stay safe in their homes. "This is something that never happens to you, this happens to someone else," Gregg said.
"We lived in a nice neighborhood over by Shorecrest," Gregg said. "This goes to prove, it doesn’t matter where you live, you can be a victim."
First Arrest Made
On Aug. 10, the St. Petersburg Police Department announced that one of the four suspects was arrested.
Police arrested 28-year-old Charles Shaw and charged him with first-degree murder and home invasion.
According to police, a witness implicated Stone. During Stone's interview with detectives he gave facts about the case only the defendant(s) would have known.
Evidence in the case also substantiated Stone's account of what occurred in the home invasion, police said.
Detectives anticipate further arrests will be made in this case. The armed suspects are described as males in their late teens or early 20s; some of them had their faces covered and all of them wore dark clothing.
"We want them all arrested and brought to justice," Gregg said.
How You Can Help
With mounting medical bills related to injuries sustained during the robbery, one of the Gordons' friends has set up an online fund for the public to contribute.
To date, more than $1,000 has been collected toward the $15,000 goal. If you wish to donate, you can do so online.