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Former Tampa Middle School Principal Charged in Double Homicide

Anthony Giancola, ex-principal of Tampa’s Van Buren Middle School, has been charged with killing two people and injuring nine others in Pinellas County last week. He was charged with two counts of first degree murder and four counts of attempted murder, after police say he went on a violent rampage in a Lealman neighborhood on Friday. Giancola was denied bail.

Law enforcement alleges that Giancola was high on drugs when he stabbed four people, killing two, in a Lealman group home for the hearing impaired, bludgeoned two owners of a Pinellas Park hotel with a hammer and hit four pedestrians and a teenager on a bike in a Lealman neighborhood.

In 2007, Giancola was arrested after he bought a $20 crack rock from an undercover Tampa police officer while in his principal’s office at Van Buren Middle School. He was sentenced to 364 days in jail for that crime.

Authorities say Giancola went to group home just before 11 a.m. on Friday, where he killed a man and a woman and injured two others. Though the timeline as reported in the media is not clear, police allege that he then went to the Kenvins Motel in Pinellas Park, where he used a microwave to attack the married couple who own the motel. Both victims were hospitalized. Giancola also pulled his car up to a Pinellas Park home, crashing into the porch and injuring four people. Officials claim he then hit a 13-year-old boy on a bike as he was fleeing.

Some reports indicate that he then entered a cafe where his mother picked him up and took him to her house. After he fled his mother’s house, police were able to track him down to a hiding place near a storage facility.

Though a complete denial of bail is a relatively unusual move by the court, it will sometimes occur if the judge believes the defendant to be a threat to public safety.

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