BROOKSVILLE — A former standout Nature Coast Technical High School football player who was shot last year during a struggle with a Hernando County sheriff's deputy will serve two years of house arrest.
Joseph Ryan Berrios, 19, of Spring Hill was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer after a bizarre encounter with Deputy Ramona Fuhs. He entered an open no contest plea Thursday and faced up to five years in prison, but Hernando Circuit Judge Stephen E. Toner Jr. withheld a formal finding of guilt and sentenced Berrios as a youthful offender.
Berrios has been receiving mental health counseling and must continue the counseling for the duration of his sentence. He was also ordered to write a letter of apology to Fuhs.
Fuhs was responding to a call about an "irrational person" on Candler Avenue in Spring Hill about 9 p.m. Feb. 27, 2013, when she encountered Berrios there. As Fuhs tried to get out of her patrol car, authorities say, Berrios approached the driver's side, grabbed the door and hit her with it. Fuhs got out of the car and tried to retreat, but Berrios continued to strike her, prosecutors say. Fuhs fired her service weapon, hitting Berrios in the leg and buttocks.
After an investigation, the State Attorney's Office determined the use of force was justified.