Mark Bailey is a charter boat captain in Sarasota, Florida, who was arrested after police say he held passengers hostage for 17 hours, threatened to shoot them and fired a gun in the air while drunk and high on cocaine during a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico.
The 36-year-old Bailey was arrested by the Sarasota Police Department on charges of boating under the influence and resisting an officer after the June 2 incident, according to court documents. Bailey is the captain of the Double Marker and owner of Double Nickel Charters.
According to police and the passengers, Bailey became violent about seven hours into the trip while they were 60 miles offshore, attacking the passengers and threatening to kill them. The passengers said they had witnessed Bailey drinking beer and rum and using drugs during the trip. While they considered overtaking him, Bailey fired his gun into the air five or six times, police say. The passengers were able to call authorities when the boat entered an area with cell service and the Coast Guard responded to rescue them and take Bailey into custody. No one was injured.
“For the first time in my life I didn’t think I was coming back,” passenger Christopher Giuffre told WFTS-TV. “I thought for sure someone was going to perish. I thought it could have been multiple.”
Another passenger, Carlo Lopeparo, told the Tampa Bay Times, “We were definitely all in fear for our lives.” He told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, “I just expected to take my family and friends out like I do every year on June 1. I wasn’t planning on being in fear for my life for 17 hours.”
Lopeparo wrote on Facebook after getting back to land, “Well here it is 4 a.m. and just getting home from a fishing charter we left on at 7 a.m. yesterday and after shots fired and being held pretty much hostage for 17 hours and being stormed by Coast Guard and Sarasota PD safe to say there is never really a dull moment in these parts.”
Here’s what you need to know about Mark Bailey:
1. A Passenger Says Mark Bailey Told Them ‘I’m Going to Put a Bullet in Each One of Your Heads & I’m Going to Leave You Out Here & No One Is Going to Know’
Carlo Lopeparo told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that he paid $2,000 for a 12-hour fishing trip on the Double Marker to Mark Bailey and Double Nickel Charters. Lopeparo and four others were on the boat along with Bailey and first mate Devin Kissell.
According to a probable cause affidavit from the Sarasota Police Department, officers were called to a report that the captain of a charter boat, “was refusing to bring the passengers back to shore and had fired off rounds from a shotgun.”
When the boat arrived back at the dock, police ordered Bailey to come down off the boat to be detained. He was then arrested and the crew and passengers were questioned.
Kissell, the first mate, told police he saw Bailey drinking an “unknown number of beers while driving the boat.” Lopepano told police that he also saw Bailey drinking multiple beers “to the point of being intoxicated.” Police wrote, “Lopepano also stated that he observed Bailey getting high from cocaine.”
Another passenger, Jason H. Rialmo, said Bailey “got drunk” during the trip and got into an argument with one of the passengers, which set things off. Rialmo’s father, also named Jason Rialmo, said he saw Bailey drinking Captain Morgan rum and beer throughout the trip.
The passengers said things started off normal, but then Bailey became “aggressive” after the group caught their limit of red snapper. An altercation then occurred between Bailey and 15-year-old Jason Rialmo.
According to the Herald-Tribune, Lopeparo sent Rialmo, his nephew, to get a beer from the captain’s bucket on the second deck. Rialmo said Bailey told him to put the beer back, but he thought he was joking and took the beer anyway. Rialmo told police that Bailey followed him down the ladder and grabbed him by the chain necklace he was wearing, breaking it.
Lopeparo began “yelling and screaming” at Bailey, but two other passengers, Christopher Giuffre, 53, and Chris Giuffre, his 23-year-old son, separated them. Bailey told Rialmo that he could “do what he wants” because it was his boat.
According to police, Giuffre Jr. said he was called up to talk to the captain and Bailey told him, “I have a 9 mm and if I want, I will put a bullet in each of your heads and leave you out here.”
About 2:45 p.m., five hours before the trip was scheduled to end, the passengers asked the first mate to ask Bailey to go back to shore. The passengers told police that Bailey then began to pretend to go back to shore, but really was just driving in circles. He did so from 6 p.m. to 1 p.m., and the passengers used a compass on a phone to confirm they were not going back.
“We had no control and no way to get back,” Giuffre Sr. told police. “I believe he didn’t want to dock completely wasted and was buying time.”
At some point, the boat got within 10 to 15 miles of Sarasota and the passengers were able to get service and call 911.
Giuffre Jr. told the Herald-Tribune that the next day, Kissell, the first mate who had tried to calm Bailey down, met Lopeparo and gave him the red snapper they had caught, which he had taken home and filleted. “We were ready to give up the fish, but the first mate said it was the least he could do,” Giuffre Jr. told the newspaper.
2. Bailey ‘Demanded to Speak to a Supervisor’ & Kicked a Patrol Car Door While Handcuffed After He Was Arrested, Police Say
Police said at the dock, they could smell alcohol on Bailey, he had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet. Bailey refused to complete field sobriety exercises. He also refused to take a breathalyzer and demanded to speak with a supervisor.
While in a patrol car, Bailey kicked a door while handcuffed.
“Officer Urbain opened the rear door to ensure that Bailey was OK at which time Bailey smiled and laughed. Upon attempting to resecure Bailey inside the vehicle, Bailey placed his hands in the rear window of the cruiser, preventing it from being closed,” police said.
3. Bailey Has Been the Owner & Captain of Double Nickel Since 2016 & Previously Worked on Other Boats
Mark Bailey has been the owner and captain for Double Nickel Charters since 2016, according to his Facebook page.
The Sarasota-based charter company says on Facebook, “Offeriring [sic] trips for both experienced fishermen and families. Fully equipped with top of the line electronics, radar, fishing tackle and safety equipment. Salon with comfortable seating, full restroom, AC and cold storage for food and drinks.”
The website adds, “Aboard Siesta Key’s charter fishing boat the Double Nickel you will find a large cockpit with lots of fishing room, perfectly safe for everyone including children, with a spotless and sanitized bathroom. Being the only offshore Siesta Key Charter Fishing and deep sea fishing charter boat running from Siesta Key, Florida, The Double Nickel is a favorite choice for deep sea fishing charters in the Siesta Key area.
“The Double Nickel caters to families as well as the serious offshore charter fishermen. Using our experience we strive to make your charter trip fun and enjoyable. We also try to gear each trip to the customer’s needs and experience level. We make sure everyone is comfortable while charter fishing on The Double Nickel from Siesta Key, Fl,” Bailey’s website says.
Before running Double Nickel, Bailey was the first mate for Motor Yacht Entrepruener LLC. He also worked as mate, deckhand and fisherman for Galati Yacht Sales in Anna Maria, Florida, from 2003 to 2014 and as a first mate on Billfish Enterprise LLC in Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Bailey says on his Facebook page that he went to high school at The American School in London.
4. He Has Been Arrested on Resisting Arrest & Trespassing Charges in Sarasota County Since September 2018
Bailey has been arrested two other times in Sarasota County since 2018.
On September 17, 2018, Bailey was charged by the Sarasota Police with trespassing. According to court documents, Bailey went to his ex-girlfriend’s apartment. He had been trespassed from there before and his ex-girlfriend told police he “continuously comes back” without her permission.
Police said he had been trespassed from there twice previously. Bailey was then arrested. In October, Bailey’s bond was revoked and he was taken into custody after his ex-girlfriend said he texted her an apology after being told not to contact her again. His ex-girlfriend said she and her 16-year-old daughter were living “in fear in our own place.”
He was released on bond about a week later and then agreed to a 3-month deferred prosecution agreement that ordered him to pay for a $150 program, complete community service, not contact the victim and not return to the property. He completed the deferred prosecution in March 2019.
Bailey was arrested again in Sarasota on May 29, 2019, after an argument with another driver, according to court documents.
A police officer said in his report that he heard of a screech of tiers and saw two vehicles several blocks ahead of them. While walking toward the incident, the officer said two women ran past him and said there was an argument between two drivers and they were scared.
Bailey was found parked in a handicapped spot and he “appeared irate,” the officer wrote in the report. He said the vehicle was running and there was damage to the front driver’s side. The officer said he ordered Bailey to turn off his car, but he refused multiple times, so the officer reached in and removed the keys from the ignition.
The other driver told police that he saw Bailey’s vehicle driving the wrong way on Ben Franklin Drive. He said Bailey, possibly thinking he was someone else, began “yelling, cursing at him” and “acting erratically.”
The officer said he suspected Bailey was possibly driving under the influence and began questioning. Bailey refused to talk to him and demanded to speak to a supervisor, according to the report. Bailey then stood up and was ordered to sit back on the ground, the report states. He refused and tried to walk into the street and was arrested, police said.
Bailey was released on bond in that case and has pleaded not guilty. He is scheduled to appear in court in that case on June 17.
5. The Incident Remains Under Investigation by the Coast Guard & Bailey Was Released on $620 Bail
Mark Bailey was released on $620 bail. But on June 5, a warrant was issued for his arrest for violating the terms of his supervised release in the May resisting arrest case. It is not clear if he has been taken back into custody.
The case remains under investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard and further charges could be brought against him.
According to the Sarasota Police report, “it was determined that anything observed in Sarasota Police presence would be handled (by the Sarasota Police) and any allegations of criminal violation of law outside of our jurisdiction would be investigated by the U.S Coast Guard.”
Carlo Lopeparo told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that he had hired Bailey before and never had any bad incidents, saying, he would drink “a beer or two, nothing major, usually when we were close to land after the day was pretty much over.”
Lopeparo told the newspaper that after Bailey was released from jail he texted him and said, “Sorry you guys had to wait around through all that,” and, “Are you guys OK?”
Giuffre Jr. told the newspaper, “He took our $1,600 we paid him to put us in this hostage situation. And we paid for his freedom.”
Giuffre said he feared for their lives and couldn’t overtake the captain because of the handgun. “He clearly has the gun within arms reach of him t was the most helpless situation that I could imagine to be in. Everyone was just helpless — a real-life hostage situation,” he told the newspaper.
Lopeparo told the Herald-Tribune, “somebody should be held accountable.”
Bailey has not commented and it is not clear if he has hired an attorney.