NEW PORT RICHEY — Authorities have released the names of the officers involved in the fatal shooting Thursday of a man who opened fire during a traffic stop.
New Port Richey Police Sgt. Eric Jay, a 12-year member of the force, pulled over a Honda Civic about 1:45 a.m. Thursday for having faulty equipment. Three people stepped out of the car when commanded, but one person in the back seat refused to come out, police said. Jay called for backup.
New Port Richey Police Officer Anthony Pedrero and Pasco sheriff's Deputy Paul Downey responded to the Burger King parking lot at U.S. 19 and Main Street.
As the officers surrounded the car, authorities say, the man in the back seat, 29-year-old Jason Arnold Wilson, fired a shot at Jay. Pedrero and Downey returned fire, shooting an unspecified number of rounds at Wilson, who died at the scene.
Wilson was a felon whose first arrest came at age 15 for carrying a concealed weapon. He served two stints in prison, a total of nearly four years, for aggravated assault with a weapon, intimidating witnesses, cocaine possession and, in 2007, for introducing contraband into a detention facility: He sent marijuana and rolling papers to his brother, an inmate at the Pasco County Jail.
In September, Wilson was stopped in Port Richey because his license didn't match his car. He had a gun in his waistband, which he tried to hide under the driver's seat, a report states. He was charged with carrying a concealed firearm. The case had not yet been to trial.
Downey has been with the Pasco Sheriff's Office for five years. Pedrero has been a New Port Richey police officer for two years.
The State Attorney's Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are conducting the investigation into the shootings. The officers and deputy are on paid administrative leave until the investigation concludes, as is protocol.