Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Account of shooting by marshal is disputed

TAMPA — When David Sills was shot by a U.S. Marshal's deputy last month, a Tampa police officer wrote that the defendant was shot "due to (his own) actions."

But a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation revealed Deputy Marshal David Vinski said his Glock accidentally discharged, striking Sills in his back and exiting his shoulder.

Are the two accounts irreconcilable?

Tampa police say no.

Sills was fleeing officers who shouted, "Police, stop, don't move," according to a Tampa police report released this week. The TPD officer was a part of a task force serving a warrant that also included the Marshals.

Sills, who fell at least twice as he ran from officers, got up, crouched, then turned and collided with Vinski when the gun went off, striking Sills in the back, according to Vinski's account to FDLE investigators.

"It was the total course of Sills' actions that led to the accidental injury," Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said. "From his choice to flee to his abrupt change of direction, all that led up to the accidental injury."

Sills remains in jail on drug trafficking warrants as well as one felony count of obstructing an officer with violence and three misdemeanor counts of obstructing an officer without violence.

He disputes the notion that the shooting was accidental, and said he is securing an attorney.

"Why did it take 30 days to say it was an accident?" Sills said in a phone conversation from jail.

Sills said he was shot from a distance, and that he did not collide with Vinski.

Contrary to the FDLE report, he said he was not reaching for the waistband of his superhero pajama bottoms as he ran.

He said he was unarmed, and there is nothing in the FDLE report that indicates otherwise.

Marshal's Deputy Ronald Lindbak, the only other officer at the scene of the Oct. 16 shooting who actually saw Sills and Vinski interact, told investigators he heard a pop as Vinski and Sills wrestled on the ground.

Vernard Adams, medical examiner for Hillsborough County, told FDLE investigators it was impossible to tell by looking at photos of Sills' wound whether the shot was fired at short range or not.

According to a 2005 article in the Detroit News, Glocks are known to regularly misfire.

They have no manual safety to prevent them from firing if the trigger is accidentally pulled. And they can shoot with as little as 3 1/2 pounds of pressure on the trigger, which a 5-year-old child can exert.

Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at rcatalanello@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3383.

Account of shooting by marshal is disputed 11/25/08 [Last modified: Friday, November 28, 2008 7:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What you need to know for Thursday, June 29

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    See that thing in the water? No? That's the point. It's that time of the year when stingrays are often lurking in the sand, often not visibly. Remember to do the stingray shuffle if you're out at the beach this weekend. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]
  2. Pinellas beaches seeing fewer injuries from stingrays, but the summer is still young

    Environment

    FORT DE SOTO — Rebecca Glidden leaned back in her lifeguard chair, watching behind sunglasses as families splashed in the water at Fort De Soto's North Beach.

    A Clearwater water safety supervisor demonstrates the stingray shuffle. Pinellas beaches are reporting relatively few injuries from stingrays so far this year, but they anticipate more as the summer wears on. Officials are reminding beachgoers to do the shuffle when they enter the water and keep an eye out for purple flags flying from the lifeguard towers, which indicate stingray activity. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  3. Weeki Wachee River advocates agree to work to resolve issues

    Local Government

    WEEKI WACHEE — Degradation of the Weeki Wachee River is a complex mix of circumstances, with a variety of jurisdictions holding the authority to fix the problems. That has made finding solutions over the years more about frustration than success.

    A boat and kayak drift into one another as they share the narrow passage near Rogers Park on the Weeki Wachee River in March. Advocates fear too many vessels are damaging the river.
  4. Despite change in Cuba policy, cruise ships sail on

    Tourism

    TAMPA -- It's smooth sailing for cruises from Tampa to Havana, with the first of Carnival Cruise Line's 12 such excursions launching today, two months after Royal Caribbean's initial voyage from Port Tampa Bay to the island.

    The Empress of the Seas cruise ship docks at the Port Tampa Bay Cruise Terminal 3 in Tampa. President Donald 

Trump's new Cuba policy may not hurt cruises to Havana at all. In fact, it may help these cruises. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
  5. Lien forgiveness program aimed at blighted properties in Zephyrhills

    Local Government

    ZEPHYRHILLS — The city will begin offering a new residential lien forgiveness program in an effort to encourage improvements to properties and home ownership.

    City Manager Steve Spina said it is geared to foreclosures and properties for sale.