SPRING HILL — The two men watched their friend Luis Guillen ride away on his bicycle, a gun in his hand and a lot on his mind. Unsure of how to handle the increasingly erratic Guillen, the men called 911.
Guillen seemed headed for trouble: he had pulled a gun on Joel Dulje, fired a bullet at the ground, smacked Mike Galdorisi across the face with the weapon and then fled into the darkness, his friends said.
"He just snapped," Dulje said. "We didn't know what else to do."
A few minutes later, standing in front of their Spring Hill home, Dulje and Galdorisi heard gunshots several blocks away. They immediately knew their troubled friend had met a tragic end.
Guillen, 36, of 4557 Larkenheath Drive, Spring Hill was shot and killed by a Hernando County sheriff's deputy early Tuesday. Deputy Lance Origon has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of an investigation into the shooting by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Origon has worked at the Sheriff's Office since 2002.
Responding to a 911 call about 2:40 a.m., Origon and another deputy saw a man riding a bicycle at Elgin Boulevard and Fairhaven Avenue who matched the description given by Dulje and Galdorisi.
Guillen refused orders from the two deputies to stop, then turned around and put his hand toward his waistband, Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Donna Black said. Origon then fired a single shot at Guillen, who died at the scene, Black said.
Deputies have recovered a gun from Guillen.
Only minutes after authorities had cleared away the crime scene, nearby resident Kevin Grier Sr. said he was relieved no one else was harmed during the shooting. Grier also wondered if the situation could have been resolved without deadly force.
"Once you're in a volatile situation, anyone in the vicinity is at risk, especially with the use of deadly force," Grier said. "But when you're in law enforcement, you do what you have to do. I'm glad they stopped (Guillen) from coming into my house."
Back at the scene of what the Sheriff's Office has called a home invasion at 10163 Gifford Drive, homeowner Dulje said Guillen was a friend and former co-worker who had come over Monday night to talk about problems he was having with his roommates.
Dulje said he invited Guillen to go out with him and his girlfriend, hoping his friend would relax after a few beers. Instead, Dulje said, the situation worsened.
"I think everything was just getting to him," Dulje said. "I know he was struggling really badly. Something was wrong with him. He was totally out of character."
After going to a couple of nearby bars, Dulje said Guillen became increasingly despondent and erratic. Dulje confronted Guillen on his lawn and told him he would have to leave his home. That's when Guillen pulled out a handgun from a knapsack on his bicycle.
Another friend, Galdorisi, said he came from inside Dulje's home to break up the argument. Galdorisi stepped in front of the gun and dared Guillen to shoot him.
Guillen then fired the gun at the ground, hit Galdorisi across the face with the weapon and took off on his bike. Dulje called 911.
"I had no idea that he had a pistol," Dulje said.
"Every man has his breaking point, Joel," Galdorisi said.
Several minutes after Guillen fled the scene, Dulje and Galdorisi said they heard the sound of gunfire several blocks away.
"That's when I started crying," Dulje said. "I knew it was for him. I know he wanted my help. But I just couldn't help him."
State records show Guillen had several brushes with the law throughout the Tampa Bay area. Guillen has been arrested at least seven times, including charges of domestic battery and criminal mischief in Hernando and, most recently, a battery charge in January 2007 in Tampa.
At the time of his death, Guillen was serving a two-year probation from Hillsborough County for carrying a concealed firearm.
Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Joel Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 754-6120.