Friday, June 22, 2018
Public safety

Pasco sheriff: Former deputy, son pull man from car, beat him

A former deputy and his son were arrested Wednesday after the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said the pair pulled a man from his car, then beat and choked him at a Hudson a gas station.

It started with a road rage incident, the Sheriff’s Office said, that the father and son weren’t initially involved in.

Peter Ciucci, 51, a former deputy with the Hernando and Pasco Sheriff’s Offices, and his 25-year-old son Nicholas Paul Tisevich-Ciucci, both face charges in an incident that was caught on the station’s security cameras.

Ciucci was employed by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office more than 25 years ago, the agency said, and retired four years ago as a lieutenant for the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.

Pasco sheriff’s Capt. James Steffens said at a Friday news conference that he was disappointed that a former law enforcement officer would be involved in this kind of incident.

"It hurts because we are trained in self-defense," Steffens said. "We’re trained in discretion. We are trained in de-escalation. Whether or not we’re still active, we have that training when we’re not active anymore."

The confrontation started when a man and a woman became involved in a road rage incident Wednesday afternoon near State Road 50 and U.S. 19 in Hernando County. Hand gestures were exchanged, and each later told deputies the other cut them off.

The man thought that was the end of it, deputies said, but the woman followed him 10 miles south, across the county line into Pasco and to the RaceTrac at 16640 U.S. 19. She also called for backup.

Ciucci and his son approached the man around 2:30 p.m. in the gas station parking lot, deputies said, and started arguing with him. He dialed 911, but before he could speak, deputies said, Ciucci reached in and started punching him, causing him to drop his phone.

Ciucci then pulled him from the ground and along with Tisevich-Ciucci continued punching him, deputies said. Both then sat on top of the man as he lay on the ground, and Ciucciplaced him in a chokehold, deputies said. They said Ciucci’s son also took the man’s keys and searched his car.

The ordeal lasted around seven minutes, deputies said, leaving the victim with minor injuries.

The man and the woman involved in the road rage incident were not identified by deputies. However, Steffens said the investigation is continuing and that she could also face charges.

Ciucci faces charges of false imprisonment, burglary with battery and tampering with a witness and was booked into the Pasco County Jail. His son faces charges of auto burglary, battery and false imprisonment. Whether they were still in jail was unknown Friday.

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