C.O.C. Stabbing Suspect: 'I Don't Know If I Stabbed Somebody Or Not, But I May Have'

June 26, 2005

Michael Dunn of the Tampa Tribune has issued the following report:

Saying he "blacked out" and "may have" pulled a knife on concertgoers, a 39-year-old Pinellas Park man was charged Saturday in a nightclub stabbing spree Thursday that left one person dead and others injured.

Michael John Pyne (photo),of 6089 81st Ave. N., is being held without bail in the Orient Road Jail, charged with first- degree murder, attempted murder, aggravated battery and other crimes.

Pyne has a lengthy criminal record that includes convictions on weapons and narcotics charges, as well as battery on a law enforcement officer.

Tampa police detectives were able to track him down through witnesses, and because he apparently was handing out business cards promoting a tattoo parlor prior to the incident, officials said. Pyne is a tattoo artist at Rat-a-Tac-Tat Tattooing in Dunedin.

Tampa police contacted Pyne and asked him to come in for questioning, police spokesman Joe Durkin said.

Pyne was arrested at police headquarters about 3 a.m. Saturday, Durkin said.

During questioning, Durkin said, Pyne told detectives: "I don't know if I stabbed somebody or not, but I may have."

The multiple stabbings occurred about 11:30 p.m. Thursday during a concert at the Masquerade nightclub in Ybor City.

Pyne's girlfriend and another woman got into a fight during the show, witnesses said.

Bartender Dallas Ashe was trying to break up the fight when Pyne intervened and began stabbing concertgoers, police said.

Pyne stabbed Tommy Laskas, 29, of Seminole Heights, several times in the upper body with a pocketknife, police said. He also stabbed Laskas' wife, Wendy, 30, police said.

Pyne stabbed Ashe and Nicholas Stegall, 21, and attempted to stab two other men before fleeing the nightclub, police said.

Tommy Laskas died of his injuries Friday. Wendy Laskas was listed in fair condition Saturday at Tampa General Hospital.

During police questioning, Pyne acknowledged being at the nightclub and possessing a knife, Durkin said.

"He said all he remembers is his girlfriend got into a fight," Durkin said. "He remembers pulling her away, but he blacked out after that and said he doesn't remember what happened after that."

Durkin said that to his knowledge, the Masquerade's security staff did not pat down concertgoers or use a metal detector.

Club attorney Luke Lirot told the Tribune on Friday the nightclub employs tight security for such concerts, which featured the band CORROSION OF CONFORMITY.

Lirot could not be reached for additional comment on Saturday.

Tommy and Wendy Laskas and Stegall worked together at Mean Machine Tattoo Co., 3415 S. Dale Mabry Highway.

The shop was closed Saturday. Two bouquets of roses lay on the ground at the shop's door. A handwritten sign said the business was closed "due to a loss in the family."

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