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Hillsborough deputies shoot and fatally wound suspect they say held his wife at gunpoint

Bullet holes riddle the door and wall of the apartment off Waters Avenue where Hillsborough deputies shot and fatally wounded Osmar Sebasco late Saturday night.

Shelley Rossetter | Times

Bullet holes riddle the door and wall of the apartment off Waters Avenue where Hillsborough deputies shot and fatally wounded Osmar Sebasco late Saturday night.

TAMPA — Though Osmar Sebasco suffered from depression and had a troubled marriage, friends remember him as a "nice guy" and "family man" who did what he could to help out.

No one expected things would end as badly as they did.

Late Saturday night, Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies shot Sebasco, 39, after they responded to his Town 'N Country apartment, where he was holding his wife at gunpoint, authorities said. He died Sunday morning at St. Joseph's Hospital.

"It's so crazy to me that this happened because he is not like that," said Ashley Fountain-Wildman, a friend of his for more than 15 years. "That is not Osmar. He is not a violent, angry person at all."

The incident began around 11:30 p.m. when emergency medical services got a call from the Waters Edge apartments at 8211 Royal Sand Circle.

While his wife, Michelle, was on the phone with emergency crews, Sebasco got on the line and began making threats, sheriff's officials said. They learned he was holding her at gunpoint.

Deputies arrived at the apartment complex and saw the woman run out with her hands up. Sebasco then began firing shots from outside the second-floor apartment, deputies said.

The deputies returned fire, striking Sebasco, authorities said. The deputies and Sebasco's wife were not injured.

Sheriff's officials identified the deputies involved as Jason Santiago, 25, Savana Kelly, 24, and David Kennedy, 45. They are on paid administrative leave while the incident is investigated, as is standard Sheriff's Office policy.

The couple has a 2-year-old daughter, who was asleep in the apartment at the time of the shooting, officials said.

• • •

Investigators say Sebasco had stopped taking his required medication. They declined to say specifically what kind of medication he was supposed to be taking.

His Facebook profile includes a brief statement of support of medical marijuana: "Alot of people suffer from cronnic anxiety and Zanax doesn't work for … everyon," he wrote.

A post from midday Saturday on Sebasco's Facebook page complained his wife was unhappy with a cake, a watch and other items he bought for her birthday.

In comments to friends, he wrote of his chest hurting and claimed that his wife told him she did not love him anymore. As friends expressed support, Michelle Sebasco left a comment indicating they did not know what had really happened.

Fountain-Wildman, 26, grew up in the same neighborhood as Sebasco and was close friends with him most of her life, she said. She described him as a "bookworm" and "nerd" who loved computers and reading about religion.

"He was just an easygoing guy, man," Fountain-Wildman said.

He suffered from depression for years, she said. He had low self-esteem, was overweight and received little attention from women. He moved to Chicago after a female friend claimed he had fathered her child, Fountain-Wildman said. Later on, he found out the child was not his.

He met Michelle there and fell in love. They moved back to Tampa and had been married five years, she said.

• • •

Friends were aware the couple had recently gone through marital problems. Sebasco used to be the provider for the family, but had been out of work lately, Fountain-Wildman said.

"As far as him pulling a gun on her, I don't believe that at all," Fountain-Wildman said. "It happened, obviously. But I think, because he was suicidal, maybe that's why he shot at the cops."

Adrian Duverge, who was friends with Sebasco and his wife, was shocked at the news.

"From what I know, he is not the type of person that would do something like this," Duverge said. "It's a side of him that I never in a million years would have known that he had."

Duverge met Sebasco about a year ago through church, after first meeting his wife at Hillsborough Community College, where she worked in the financial aid office, he said.

Later Sunday, Fountain-Wildman lamented the shooting on Sebasco's Facebook page.

"It didnt have to end like this. …" she wrote. "I wish I could of saved u. RIP MY FRIEND."

The apartment's door and the walls around it were riddled with bullet holes Sunday. A "Happy Birthday" banner hanging from the balcony railing still blew in the breeze. Drops of blood dotted the concrete steps.

Times staff writer Shelley Rossetter and researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Dan Sullivan can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3321.

Hillsborough deputies shoot and fatally wound suspect they say held his wife at gunpoint 01/23/11 [Last modified: Monday, January 24, 2011 7:24am]
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