Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Authorities ID machete-wielding man shot by deputy in Palm Harbor parking lot

EAST LAKE — First, Bradley James Gaus' wife thought her depressed husband was headed to Virginia.

Then she thought he was in Lakeland and later at an Oldsmar McDonald's.

Then Gaus popped up in the parking lot of an East Lake strip mall about 1:30 a.m. Monday, waving a machete, chasing a Pinellas County sheriff's sergeant around his police car, authorities said.

Then Gaus was in a helicopter, flying to Bayfront Medical Center with three gunshot wounds.

Gaus underwent surgery and was in serious condition Monday afternoon. Sheriff's Sgt. Christopher Metro shot the 26-year-old Oldsmar man three times in the torso, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

The confrontation came about 37 hours after his wife, Susan Gaus, first called the Sheriff's Office because she feared her husband was going to kill himself. She had returned home Saturday morning to find a note from her husband saying goodbye, according to sheriff's Sgt. Tom Nestor.

"He made statements to them (his family) that he wanted to die, that he wanted to commit suicide," Nestor said. "When Sgt. Metro encountered him, he didn't know anything other than he was coming at him with a machete."

The Sheriff's Office gave the following account: Metro, 43, saw Gaus driving erratically in a red Mitsubishi Eclipse in the area around Tampa Road and East Lake Road. Metro pulled him over in the parking lot of the Shoppes of Boot Ranch Plaza at 500 East Lake Road.

Both men got out of their cars. Gaus held a machete in his right hand. He raised it over his head and moved toward Metro.

Metro moved to the rear of his cruiser. Gaus followed. Metro moved to other side of his car. Gaus followed again.

Metro told Gaus several times to drop the machete. "You are going to have to shoot me," Gaus answered. Metro obliged.

A 20-year veteran of the agency, Metro is on paid administrative leave, standard procedure when a deputy is involved in a shooting.

Susan Gaus called the Sheriff's Office about noon Saturday to report her husband missing, according to Nestor. She tracked his movement with the couple's shared credit card, Nestor said.

The card was used Saturday in Lakeland, then Sunday at a McDonald's on Tampa Road.

Gaus and Metro's confrontation happened less than 3 miles from Gaus' home.

Monday's incident was the ninth law enforcement-involved shooting in the Tampa Bay area in 2011, and the sixth in Pinellas County. There have been four police-related shootings in Pinellas in the past five weeks, two of them fatal.

Monday's incident was also the second machete-related confrontation in Pinellas this month. A Largo man nearly severed three of his cousin's fingers with a machete during an altercation July 12.

Times researchers Caryn Baird and Carolyn Edds and staff writer Danny Valentine contributed to this report. Will Hobson can be reached at (727) 445-4167 or

Authorities ID machete-wielding man shot by deputy in Palm Harbor parking lot 07/25/11 [Last modified: Monday, July 25, 2011 10:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.