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State Attorney Files Attempted Murder Charges on Phillip Neal Following Bunnell Brawl

| September 21, 2012

Phillip Neal, left, when he was in state prison until 2008, and in his more recent booking photo at the Flagler County jail, where he's been booked 18 times since 2008.

Phillip Neal, left, when he was in state prison until 2008, and in his more recent booking photo at the Flagler County jail, where he’s been booked 18 times since 2008.

It was one of those rare times when a police officer has to draw his weapon and face suspect armed with a weapon of his own, in a situation that very quickly could go from bad to worse.

Bunnell Police officer George Hristakopoulos had been dispatched to Beacher Street in Bunnell, where shots had been fired. A crowd of 15 to 30 people had gathered at the southeast corner of east Martin Luther King Avenue and South Bacher Street, in the heart of Bunnell’s black ghetto. Hristakopoulos saw Philip Neal back away from the crowd and point a small chrome Taurus .38 Special at it.

Hristakopoulos was familiar with Neal. Law enforcement officers generally are, the 28-year-old Bunnell resident of 400 South Chapel Street having been booked into the Flagler County jail no less than 18 times in the past four years: he faced charges of cocaine possession, marijuana possession, domestic violence battery, failure to appear, driving on a suspended license, violating probation, petit theft, carrying a concealed weapon, resisting arrest, trespassing. Before that, he’d spent 16 months in state prison for manufacturing and selling cocaine and marijuana, leaving prison on Aug. 1, 2008.

For all that time, and the battery charge aside, he’d never been arrested on a seriously violent crime. That changed the night of Aug. 25 after midnight, when he had his confrontation with Hristakopoulos.

When Hristakopoulos saw Neal pointing his gun at the crowd, he drew his own, according to a police report, and from about 20 feet away, ordered Neal to drop his gun. Neal didn;t do so. He turned away from Hristakopoulos and tried to conceal the gun in his waistband, according to the report. That didn;t work too well. As Hristakopoulos was ordering Neal to drop the weapon and warning him that he’d shoot otherwise, the gun fell through Neal’s shorts and onto the grass.

Hristakopoulos approached him and ordered him to put his hands on his head. Neal complied. Hristakopoulos ordered him to get on the ground. Neal, who has that history of resisting arrest, refused. Hristakopoulos “used a leg sweep of [Neal's] left leg, bringing him down to the ground,” the report states, and cuffed him, all the while as people surrounding the pair was running around, yelling and arguing: South Bunnell is always a tense, often a rowdy place when cops are present. Hristakopoulos kept a leg on top of the gun while he was cuffing Neal, before other officers, including Bunnell’s officer Rodriguez, arrived on scene.

Neal was searched. Baggies containing Oxycodone, the pain-relieving narcotic, were found on him. He was placed in a cop’s cruiser, and a perimeter was set up around the gun while waiting for Flagler County Sheriff’s Office deputies to arrive.

The .38-caliber gun had three spent shells and two unused ones. Hristakopoulos then learned that an alleged victim had been involved in an incident with Neal before Hristakopoulos’s arrival. The victim was Deron Kevin Carter.


Neal told officers he wanted to lawyer up when read his Miranda rights, saying that he had merely picked up the gun during the physical disturbance but not fired it. He agreed to a gunshot residue test, but the police report leave the result of that test mum. When Hristakopoulos spoke with Carter at Carter’s Renworth Place home later, Carter refused to be taped, but spoke of the incident willingly. He said that while driving south on Bacher, near Martin Luther King Avenue, he saw Neal standing in the street–MLK–while an unidentified man of about 20, on a bicycle, handed Neal “something shiny.” Carter said a shorter man with a mohawk and wearing no shirt (Neal has a mohawk) was also there.

Carter told Hristakopoulos that “the defendant, known to him as Philip Neal, from approximately 15 feet away from his vehicle, opened fire on him,” firing between three and five shots according to the arrest report. (Two “apparent bullet dents” were located on the passenger side of the vehicle, which was towed to John’s Towing in Bunnell on Aug. 27.) Carter got out of his car and ducked behind it, fearing for his life, then ran west on Martin Luther King Avenue–and began fighting with the two men he’d mentioned were at the scene earlier, but not Neal. Neal reappeared shortly afterward, according to Carter, and pointed the .38 at him, according to Carter. It was at that point that Hristakopoulos had intervened.

Carter told Hristakopoulos that Neal had threatened to kill him in the past, according to the report. Four witnesses provided statements to police, all four saying that Neal had held the gun as Hristakopoulos had described it.

On Friday, the State Attorney’s office charged Neal with attempted second degree murder, a second degree felony, with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, a second degree felony, and with possessing, manufacturing and intending to sell Oxycodone, a first-degree felony. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison (assuming the judge doesn’t sentence him to consecutive terms).

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28 Responses for “State Attorney Files Attempted Murder Charges on Phillip Neal Following Bunnell Brawl”

  1. Umm says:

    Why does it take so long to get these good-for-nothing, unproductive members of society off our streets. Once a criminal, always a criminal.

  2. Outsider says:

    I guess we don’t have to worry about Obama saying, “If I had a son, he’d look like Phillip Neal.”.

  3. johnny taxpayer says:

    “first wanted to lawyer up”- This use of this phrase, and the negative connotation it is meant to convey, always annoys me. As if someone exercising their constitutional rights while being questioned by the police is, somehow a bad thing?

  4. bud says:

    Flagler County could save a lot of money in the long run by cleaning up that area instead of letting it produce these kinds of criminals generation after generation.

  5. Kurt says:

    Man…those 2 Bunnell cops are real heroes!!!! Job well done guys!

  6. Jim Neuenfeldt says:

    “having been booked into the Flagler County jail no less than 18 times in the past four years: he faced charges of cocaine possession, marijuana possession, domestic violence battery, failure to appear, driving on a suspended license, violating probation, petit theft, carrying a concealed weapon, resisting arrest, trespassing. Before that, he’d spent 16 months in state prison for manufacturing and selling cocaine and marijuana, leaving prison on Aug. 1, 2008.”

    Does anyone else see a problem here………….
    This is exactly why I will not be reaffirming any current JUDGE to stay in their office…..
    Carrying a concealed weapon.
    Cocaine possession are both FELONY charges after this person was already a convicted felon!
    He did 16 Months in Florida State Prison system and learned? (Not Much in my opinion)
    Yet all of these arrests since he was out over that 4 year span (in between the jail time in the county on all of these charges…while on PROBATION?………………
    And now this incident of dealing/possessing drugs, shooting at people, carrying a gun……….
    Oh wait it’s the gun’s fault…… If there were no guns this guy would be unarmed??? (Yeah Sure he would)
    I think this story is told… Let’s have a happy ending for the people for a change instead of the SUSPECT and already CONVICTED FELON.

    VOTE NO TO REAFFIRM all JUDGES!
    I don’t think our Judges should be a popularity contest, however I do expect them to do their jobs and they haven’t… Not in this case, and I assure you this is the norm, not the EXCEPTION!

  7. Outsider says:

    How would you clean up the area? Anytime the police try harder to do that, the ACLU and other alphabet groups are right there screaming racism. We need to return to the traditional family in America; all this single parent hero bullshit is what’s causing kids to go bad.

  8. Helen Kefalianos says:

    Good job to the officers and the police department and thank you.

  9. fred8131 says:

    Does Bunnell have a white ghetto? Or a hispanic ghetto? No white citizens in this “black ghetto”?

  10. on the edge says:

    best part of the 2 mug shots…is that the one kid on the left was crying..lol!! All fun and games..good job! Get these PUNKS of the streets!

  11. FL informed voter says:

    18 times in 4 years…after a prison stay? Why is he on the streets again?

  12. ANONYMOUSAY says:

    No need to throw the President in the mix. I kinda remember Sheriff Flemming asking for a soft heart from the public when his kid got busted saying no family was immune. It’s funny how the bleeding hearts poor out in the postings when the undercover bigots see a face that looks like their own kid. I said it a million time biased is worse than racism, easier for bigots to hide. In some peoples eyes we all came from Gorillas or Africa, take your pick.

  13. Geezer says:

    Ahh, South Bunnell, a quaint spot on the map where an armored car is required to drive through.

    There should be warning signs posted when approaching South Bunnell:
    “WARNING: APPROACHING COMBAT ZONE”
    “DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!”

    In an ironic twist, Mr. Neal is actually being provided with safe-haven in jail.

  14. Bubba Gordo says:

    Maybe he can do a good long stretch with the latest charges.
    Nice local boy, hey?

  15. anonymouspc says:

    Hopefully this guy gets released in time to vote in the presidential election.
    Who do you think he will vote for?

  16. PJ says:

    Black getto, white getto, red getto!

    It don’t matter it is a place that needs constant monitoring. With the new Police Chief Hoffman and the brave well trained Bunnell PD you get an arrest.

    Here is the problem the judges that need want their jobs suck at it. 18 times? REAlly? This is trully amazing.

    I let my grass grow too long in Palm Coast and I have to go in hiding not to get caught and beat with a pipe. Here the convict operates in the open because a judge who wants to get relected does not do his job.

    We should not look at Fleming on this one. His officers lock these bums up too but the judges just simply suck AND LET THEM GO FREE.

    We as honest citizens have no rights compared to this thug. “I want to lawyer up” he has the lingo down pat.

    Go ahead get a red light ticket don’t pay for it and you will have more to lose than these dirt bags.

    Where is the justice!

    You know(frustrated feelings) what I need to do is have another coffee and sit by the pool.

    Thanks for keeping us all safer Bunnell PD. Great job.

    Hey Judges re-read this article you should be sickened by your own actions. Oh that’s right you people are lawyers and it won’t sicken you………………….

    • Anonymous says:

      BUNNÈLL HAS THE MOST RACIST WHITE PPL TILL ITS PATHETIC ! THANK GOD OBAMA PRÉSIDENT && FOR OPRAH DA “RICHES” BLACK LADY SHOWIN PPL THAT DEGRADE US BLACK PPL CAN DO MORE THAN YALL THINK WE CAN !!

  17. The Geode says:

    To answer some of your questions: Yes. There are “white citizens” in the ghetto, usually these are the people the “majority” or those who think they’re mighty would consider “trash”. Let’s not forget the whites who frequent said “ghettos” for their fixes and other questionable businesses that is the catalyst for most of the activities that take place. Sure, the focus will continue to be on the face that gets caught and not on the driving forces behind the wheel. There is no “cleaning up” that’s going to help the plight of a poor community, desperate people with little or NO other options whether perceived or real would seek ways to exploit the weak.
    That being said, I have absolutely NO sympathy for this or any other person who would think this type of behavior is “normal” and conducts life as such. However, I do notice the obvious “let’s get him help” versus “lock those animals up” depending on the race of the accused. Sadly, I concede THIS mode of thinking as par for the course.

  18. ANONYMOUSAY says:

    @ anonymouspc: Doubt he will be voting for anybody. Convicted felons with a record like his have a hard time getting their rights back.

  19. Cataholler says:

    I agree with Jim. What is going on with that statement “For all that time, and the battery charge aside, he’d never been arrested on a seriously violent crime. That changed the night of Aug. 25 after midnight, when he had his confrontation with Hristakopoulos” The other crimes he had committed with the drugs and the domestic violence are serious to ME. This is a perfect example of how BROKEN the system is that a 28 year old can be in and out of jail 18 times in 4 years. The prison system is money making business so instead of making him “accountable” like maybe cleaning up his neighborhood, doing community service on a daily basis , etc. Put him in jail at the taxpayers expense. The whole vicious cycle continues because criminals have NO FEAR of the system or jail or consequences.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Why would a victim readily make a statement, but refuse to be audiotaped? Just wondering.

  21. bunnell says:

    i bet none of yall will come to bunnell

  22. Anonymous says:

    What does the president have to do with Phillip? Bunnell Is not a bad city, it’s the people. I was born And raised there. there are a lot of “black and white ghettos” but that does not mean everyone are. My family is still in florida, And I have two brothers that turned out great, no jail, no killing, no drugs. So saying things about a city you people don’t know anything about is so ignorant, every where has crime and drugs whatever you want to say, because this is still America and there’s never been ” justice or peace” If someone can kill kids and have freedom, now that’ s crazy or preachers and rape the shit out of little boys and get praised for it, and that’s sick, let’s talk about the real big picture, and stop slumming down one city and let’s discuss all city’s, If you want talk, let’s talk about how in ” white ghettos”

  23. BUNNELL says:

    Let’s Pray For Him Because He Hass Kids Out Here

  24. Insider says:

    Let’s address the words, “black ghetto”…if a professional can print this publicly and not be reprimanded for it then that alone speaks volumes about the City of Bunnell. Instead of downing an already downed community of people, why not HELP! There’s no true resources to better the lives of these blacks. There are drugs and guns in the white parts of Bunnel but so much time is devoted to watching black area thst no one really notices any other erongs in Bunnell. The “Philip Neals” only exist in the area because the ones who are voted to make changes enjoy watching the poor community hang itself. They enjoy the constant police activity so that they can continue to look good. The City of Bunnell is still segregated…in America?? Of course.
    There should be a beautification day to make the black part of Bunnell look more appealing.

  25. doesnt matter says:

    ill tip my hat to the officers who caught the dead beat, good job guys, glad your safe! theres probabaly like 3 officers there who are well trained…. this is a fact

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