Sun, Mar 26, 2006 - Page 7 News List

Members of Florida Nazi group arrested after vicious attack

NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , NEW PORT RICHEY, FLORIDA

In what the authorities have described as a possible Nazi hate crime, a man wearing a gas mask broke into a woman's mobile home in this Tampa suburb early on Thursday morning, slashed her face and arms, and fatally wounded a friend of her son by stabbing him in the neck.

The 45-year-old woman, Patricia Wells, who is white, told officers that she had been attacked because she dates a black man, the police said. A small compound occupied by neo-Nazis is next door to Wells' home, and she said members of the group had previously threatened to kill her and her boyfriend.

target

A former member of the group, David Dirolf, 21, said in an interview that he had heard members threaten Wells and her son on several occasions. Wells' son was a target because he is gay, Dirolf said, adding that he thought the 17-year-old boy who was stabbed had been mistaken for the son, who was not home.

That victim, Kristofer Guy King, died on Friday afternoon. Wells was treated at a hospital and released.

Two men have been taken into custody in the wake of the attack, though neither has been charged in connection with it.

The first of them, John Ditullio, 20, was arrested early on Thursday by a SWAT team that stormed the compound, where Nazi flags were displayed outside. Ditullio was seized on unrelated charges of domestic battery but is also being questioned about the stabbings, the authorities said.

The other man is Shawn Plott, 33, whom the Pasco County Sheriff's Office arrested on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court on drunken-driving and other charges.

`affiliated'

Plott, who was described as being "affiliated" with the neo-Nazi group, is known to have lived at four addresses within the small mobile home neighborhood. One of those is the compound, where, said Dirolf, the former member, as many as 20 people resided at any given time.

Dirolf, who has tattoos of a swastika on his chest and Hitler on his arm, said he broke from the neo-Nazis three months ago but still lived down the street.

"It was the worst time of my life," he said. "When they drink whiskey, everything gets wild and they start shooting," he said.

Lieutenant Robert Sullivan of the sheriff's office said 80 to 90 people in the county were believed to be affiliated with the group. Complaints of gunfire and fights at the compound have been common, Sullivan said.

One neighbor said that a few months ago, she saw several men armed with rifles leave the Nazi compound and chase Wells' boyfriend down the street. The neighbor said she was too afraid to be identified by name.

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