Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough County deputy shot armed man, officials say

TAMPA — A Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy shot and badly wounded an armed man early Wednesday at a North Tampa apartment complex after the man refused orders to drop a gun, officials said.

The shooting happened just before 6:30 a.m. at 1538 University Woods Place in the Oak Bend apartment complex near the University of South Florida. A woman who was visiting a friend in a second-floor apartment phoned 911 and told authorities that her armed and angry boyfriend was outside. She said she could hear the man rack the gun, as if preparing to fire.

Two deputies arrived, and the man, Carlos Rivera-Rodriguez, 27, came downstairs to the parking lot. The deputies repeatedly shouted for him to drop the gun, officials said. He racked the gun again, and Deputy James Woods shot him multiple times, officials said.

"They were in fear that he was going to shoot them," said Hills­borough County sheriff's Col. Donna Lusczynski.

Rivera-Rodriguez was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in critical condition.

Woods, 44, has been on the force for 16 years, sheriff's officials said. He works for the Homeland Security Division canine unit and will be placed on leave while authorities investigate.

Rivera-Rodriguez has been arrested before on theft and marijuana possession charges, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records.

Rusti Fuqua arrived home from a job interview Wednesday morning to find yellow crime scene tape blocking the way to her apartment a few doors away from the shooting scene. Detectives and forensic technicians shuffled about the scene. Her petrified Jack Russell terrier mix was waiting for her when she made her way in through a back gate.

"It scares me because I have kids," Fuqua said of the shooting. "It very well could have happened upstairs from me."

Yellow evidence markers stood propped alongside items in the grass and on the sidewalk below an outdoor stairway. A ball cap lay overturned. A backpack sat on the blacktop, paces away from a set of bullet shell casings. A black handgun lay on a ramp leading to an adjacent building.

Fuqua, who has lived at the complex for two years, said she didn't know the wounded man or his girlfriend but had recently seen them coming and going from the complex. She noticed them because they argued a lot, she said.

"They would go up and down the steps," she said. "I think one time they were arguing about keys. She wouldn't give him the keys or something."

Normally the complex is quiet, Fuqua said. But now she feels unsafe.

"This has kind of shocked me," she said. "I'm definitely going to look for a new place to live."

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Dan Sullivan can be reached at or (813) 226-3386.

Hillsborough County deputy shot armed man, officials say 07/17/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 11:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren joins other prosecutors in protesting Jeff Sessions' 'tough-on-crime' policy


    TAMPA — Andrew Warren, the state attorney for Hillsborough County, is among signers of a letter from 31 district prosecutors nationwide voicing opposition to the tough-on-crime policies of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

    Hillsborough State Atttorney Andrew Warren is among the signers of a letter from 31 top prosecutors nationwide opposing Attorney General Jeff Sessions' 'tough-on-crime' policies. ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times
  2. Suspect tells police he killed roommates for disrespecting his Muslim faith


    TAMPA — A man accused of shooting his roommates in a New Tampa apartment told police he shared neo-Nazi beliefs with the two men until he converted to Islam then killed them because they disrespected his faith.

    Devon Arthurs, 18, of Tampa told police  he shared neo-Nazi beliefs with his roommates, Jeremy Himmelman and Andrew Oneschuk, until he converted to Islam and shot them because they disrespected his faith.
[Photo courtesy of Tampa Police]
  3. Nelson, Rubio want Trump to back off cuts to drug office


    Citing an opioid crisis “devastating Florida,” Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio are asking the Trump administration to back off plans to gut the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

    A letter to the Office of Management and Budget
  4. US President Donald Trump, left,  meets with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Monday, in Jerusalem. Trump opened his first visit to Israel Monday, a two-day stop aimed at testing the waters for jumpstarting the dormant Middle East peace process. [AP photo]
  5. Study: Florida most friendly state for retired veterans

    Working Life

    Florida is the nation's best state for military retirees looking for somewhere to settle. That's according to a study released Monday by WalletHub which rated Florida the most friendly when it comes to economic factors, quality of life and health care.

    Veterans watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during training camp in 2016. Florida is the most friendly state for retired veterans according to a new WalletHub study. | LOREN ELLIOTT, Times