Deputies shoot armed man at estranged wife’s home

Tampa Bay Times - - Tampa Bay - BY DANIEL FIGUEROA IV AND TONY MARRERO Times Staff Writ­ers

RIVERVIEW — Shots rang out in the dark­ness early Fri­day when a 60-year-old man was killed by deputies in a quiet neigh­bor­hood near Big Bend Road and U.S. 301.

Deputies were called to a house at the end of Es­tates Del Sol Drive just af­ter 3 a.m. when a woman came home to find her estranged hus­band inside, Hills­bor­ough Sher­iff Chad Chro­nis­ter said. She called 911 “in a panic,” he said.

The man was out­side in the neigh­bor’s yard when deputies Dan­nette Bren­nan and Joshua Ber­rios ar­rived, Chro­nis­ter said.

Through the dark­ness, Chro­nis­ter said, deputies could see him hold­ing two ob­jects. When the deputies com­manded him to drop what he was hold­ing, the man threw a koozie-wrapped beer can across a fence but held onto a sil­ver ob­ject the deputies later said was a small firearm.

They told him to drop the gun, Chro­nis­ter said, but the man didn’t lis­ten.

“At some point dur­ing the in­ter­ac­tion and them telling him to drop the gun, he turns to­wards them point­ing the gun at them,” Chro­nis­ter said in a Fri­day morn­ing news con­fer­ence a few houses away from the shoot­ing. “In fear for their life, un­for­tu­nately, the only op­tion they had was to fire at the estranged hus­band, strik­ing him mul­ti­ple times.”

The man, whose name has not been re­leased, died at the scene. Chro­nis­ter said “pre­lim­i­nary de­tails now are that he wasn’t able to get a shot off.” Nei­ther deputy was in­jured.

The estranged wife, whose name was not re­leased, was dis­traught but un­harmed, Chro­nis­ter said.

She called from 11006 Es­tates Del Sol Drive, a small man­u­fac­tured home at the ter­mi­nus of the dead-end road. As foren­sic workers be­gan to process the scene Fri­day morn­ing, black screens covered the man’s body where he’d fallen at the end of the drive­way of the large twos­tory house next door. A rooster crowed from another neigh­bor’s yard.

The man has a crim­i­nal his­tory in Texas in­clud­ing armed robbery and “mul­ti­ple whitecol­lar crimes,” ac­cord­ing to the Sher­iff’s Of­fice. He also has a mis­de­meanor charge in Florida for tres­pass­ing. Chro­nis­ter said there is no record of any pre­vi­ous do­mes­tic vi­o­lence calls to the house.

Bren­nan, 27, joined the Sher­iff ’s Of­fice in 2014 and had no prior use-of-force in­ci­dents.

Ber­rios, 31, started with the agency in Au­gust 2015, and Fri­day’s shoot­ing marked the sec­ond time he has fired his weapon with deadly re­sults. He was one of two deputies in­volved in the June 2016 shoot­ing death of 26year-old Jamil Ale­jan­dro Val­ladares dur­ing another do­mes­tic vi­o­lence call in Riverview.

Val­ladares’ girl­friend called deputies to an apart­ment she shared with him at Grovedale Cir­cle say­ing he pulled her hair, choked her and ripped her robe dur­ing an ar­gu­ment, ac­cord­ing to an in­ves­ti­ga­tion sum­mary. Ber­rios and another deputy, Austin O’Neill, found Val­ladares in front of his 2000 Mer­cury Moun­taineer and said he be­came ver­bally ag­gres­sive, then pulled out and raised a .40-cal­iber Smith & Wes­son hand­gun, ac­cord­ing to the sum­mary.

O’Neill and Ber­rios shot him sev­eral times. Nei­ther deputy was in­jured, but in­ves­ti­ga­tors re­cov­ered two spent shell cas­ings next to Val­ladares. He was taken to Tampa Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal and charged with two counts of at­tempted mur­der of a law en­force­ment of­fi­cer, but died about a month later. The State At­tor­ney’s Of­fice con­cluded the deputies were jus­ti­fied in us­ing deadly force.

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