A Florida mayor, about to be arrested by sheriff’s deputies and state agents in the pre-dawn hours on a late February Thursday, opened fire on the tactical officers outside his home in Port Richey, just north of Tampa.
Port Richey Mayor Dale G. Massad has been charged with attempted homicide after, as police allege, he shot at police who were trying to serve a search warrant at his 8221 Hayward Lane house.
The 68-year-old mayor has a history of drug use, alleged violence and is known to have a cache of weapons in his home, authorities said.
Now, three weeks later, Massad has been re-arrested and charged with obstruction of justice. And the acting mayor, Terrence Rowe, 64, has also been charged as the two were heard plotting about either discrediting or retaliating against a police officer Massad said was involved in the arrest. They were heard discussing it on a recorded jailhouse telephone line.
WFLA reported Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents arrested Massad, 68, at the Pasco County jail where he’s being held without bond on the attempted murder charges, Wednesday, March 13. The arrest report that said “Massad conspired to obstruct justice by attempting to intimidate, harass or retaliate” against Officer Howard with the Port Richey Police Department, WFLA reported.
Rowe, the acting mayor after Gov. Ron DeSantis removed Massad from office, was also arrested according to online records.
It’s reported that Massad called Rowe from jail and on a recorded line, alleged the police officer was “hired illegally, fired legally and re-hired illegally,” adding that Howard is “on everything,” apparently in reference to his February arrest. The report says Rowe replied he was “on it.”
Then Massad seemed to thank Howe in advance: “…anything you can do is good.” And then, appears to issue a caution, or threat: “You know this doesn’t go down without somebody answering for it,” WFLA reported on the arrest documents.
At the time of the arrest on in February, Pasco County Florida Sheriff Chris Nocco said the mayor, who was “probably on drugs” when police arrived, is lucky he wasn’t killed.
He’s facing more than attempted murder charges, the original warrant was for what sounds like a possibly benign charge, practicing medicine with a license, but is hardly that, based on his past.
Late Friday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stepped in to throw Massad out.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Massad Opened Fire on a SWAT Team Trying to Arrest Him. The Sheriff Said ‘He’s Lucky He’s Not Dead’
Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said deputies were asked by the statewide prosecutor, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the state Attorney General to help out with executing a search warrant and an arrest. Nocco said Massad is a “known drug user” and police “knew he had multiple weapons in the house” and had previous “history of violence.”
He said Pasco sheriff’s SWAT arrived at 4:40 a.m. and announced that they were there: “He knew they were there. Numerous neighbors knew they were there …numerous neighbors came out of their houses.”
Nocco said deputies could see inside the house that he had a gun in his hand. Then, Nocco said, Massad fired two rounds at SWAT officers. He said they did not return fire but surrounded the house and ordered Massad to come out. Which he did as did other people who were inside his residence.
Nocco said there was a “strong suspicion” that Massad was on drugs when SWAT arrived.
Nocco said that Massad is “lucky he’s not dead.”
2. State Authorities Charged Him With Practicing Medicine Without a License, Which He Was Forced to Surrender in ’92 After the Death of a 3-Year-Old Female Patient
Following a four-month investigation, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement charged him with Practicing Medicine without a License. Agents received information from the Port Richey Police Department that Massad, whose medical license was relinquished in 1992 in place of revocation, was still practicing medicine. Agents launched an investigation and learned Massad had patients come to his home for various treatments. He had performed medical procedures at his residence with one procedure requiring additional hospital treatment for the patient.
According to state records, he was first licensed in Florida in 1977 but in 1992, he handed it over to state regulators after a toddler in his care died a horrible death.
The account of what occurred is disturbing. The full account can be read here but note the details may be too upsetting for some.
Massad was performing laser treatments to remove so-called port wine stains from a 3-year-old girl. He injected her with Demerol for the first treatment and she became ill when that night so for the next treatment, he put valium in a glass of Coca-Cola. At the next treatment, he injected the toddler with valium. A dental procedure was done simultaneously and the child was given lidocaine as well. And it got worse. She was injected with too-high doses of the anesthetic and valium and soon had a seizure, became unconscious and CPR was performed and 911 was called. She would be intubated and flown to a children’s hospital trauma unit.
She continued to deteriorate and lost brain function and soon, was brain-dead. The tubes were pulled and she was pronounced dead.
The case file shows he was guilty of gross malpractice. The state demanded he give up his license. But this did not stop from practicing in his home, authorities charge, and as has been commented on by some on social media; people who have gone to his house for treatments, they said.
He has never stopped calling himself an M.D.
On his Twitter, for example, and, in official election records his name is listed as Dale “Doc” Massad.
3. Elected Mayor Twice, Nocco Said ‘Nobody’s Above the Law’ & Florida Gov. DeSantis Signed an Executive Order Throwing Him Out of Office
In October of 2015, on the ballot he was Dale “Doc” Massad. He won with more than 40 percent of the vote. And in 2017, he ran again, unopposed.
There’s been no statement from the city of Port Richey about Massad’s arrest on its social media or its website.
It turns out some in the community were not too bothered by his previous antics. It’s not clear what the sentiment is now.
In a local report, a citizen said he was unconcerned about what the mayor was up to as long as he did his job calling him a “rogue” but one who’s brought business to the town: “If you do your job, whatever you do on the side, that’s fine by me.”
At the most recent council meeting, Massad appeared to have trouble speaking and enunciating and said he was confused about which meeting he was in. And he mispronounced the word public.
By Friday afternoon, the governor of Florida stepped in to boot Massad.
Read the executive order:
Effective immediately, the executive order signed by Gov. DeSantis suspends Massad.
And DeSantis had something to say about the now officially ex-mayor.
“Dale Glen Massad is clearly unfit to continue serving as Mayor for the City of Port Richey. It is in the best interest of the residents of the City of Port Richey and citizens of the state of Florida that Dale Glen Massad be immediately suspended from public office.”
4. Police Said Massad Is Known for Being a Drug User, Keeping Weapons in His Home & Had Nearly 50 Police Calls to His House in a 3-Year Period
An investigation by local media found that calls for service to his house numbered nearly four dozen it was reported, over three years. He wasn’t arrested by that city’s police during those calls, but others were.
The report contains bizarre details including him high on drugs, firing a gun inside his house, having street people partying inside and outside of his house some sleeping under boats in his yard. And other wild calls.
According to the 2018 report, a local police officer was heard on audio saying there were, “Criminals are in and out of there. Shady people are in and out of there.”
The officer was investigating a report that guns were stolen from him. A witness told her Massad had “guns all over the house.” Other witnesses described the lifestyle he led as chaotic and violent and drug-fueled. It was reported that the local “police department distributed officer safety bulletins about the guns.”
He’d later say he found the missing guns and also a lot of weed, which he claimed police planted, though it soon vanished. He told authorities he did not smoke marijuana but is registered “through Florida’s compassionate use program to receive medical marijuana.”
5. Massad Was Arrested on a Domestic Violence Charge Along With His Girlfriend Caj Joseph Who Has a Voluminous Criminal Record & Prostitution Conviction
In the summer of 2018, Massad and his girlfriend Caj Joseph were arrested on domestic battery charges. He defended himself on Facebook claiming that the arrest was a rush to judgment.
His reported longtime girlfriend Caj Joseph has a lengthy record in Pasco County alone with charges and convictions for drugs, domestic battery, and prostitution in addition to other misdemeanor and felony cases.
In the August 2018 domestic violence arrest, her charge was a battery on a person over 65.