Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

I was unarmed, man shot by U.S. marshal in Tampa says

TAMPA — David Christopher Sills says he was unarmed when a deputy U.S. Marshal shot him last week.

Sills, 26, said he was running toward the woods from a man wearing a ball cap and a bullet proof vest when he felt himself suddenly fall face down to the ground, a bullet puncturing his back and exiting his shoulder.

"That wasn't a shot that said, 'Hey, stop,' " Sills said in an interview Thursday from Falkenburg Road Jail, where he is being housed in the infirmary. "That was a 'Hey, we found him, he's down.' "

After Sills fell to the ground wounded, he said, an officer stunned him with a Taser gun and kicked him in the ear.

Law enforcement's account of how things happened that day has not yet been told.

The U.S. Marshal Service has declined to release details of the incident, including the name of the officer who fired the shot.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the matter under an agreement with the Marshal Service. FDLE confirmed the incident happened at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 16 at The Club at Hidden River Condominiums, just north of Fletcher Avenue and west of Interstate 75.

The deputy marshal was there to serve a warrant on Sills for failure to appear in court on a drug trafficking charge that originated with Tampa police, according to public records.

But law enforcement has declined to say how a warrant arrest went awry.

Jim Madden, special agent in charge of the Tampa division of the FDLE, said Thursday it would be inappropriate to comment on Sills' statements until the agency's investigation is complete, which is expected to take less than 30 days.

Sills thinks he was wrongly handled. "I made a mistake," he said. "But that doesn't mean you try to shoot me."

On Thursday morning, a Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Robert Foster delayed sentencing for Sills on the drug charge after his attorney told the judge Sills was under the influence of pain medication, which "affected his ability to be clear."

Tampa police say Sills sold cocaine to an undercover officer in November. He faces a three-year minimum mandatory sentence for three counts of trafficking cocaine and one count of conspiracy to traffic. His hearing was reset for Oct. 31.

Sills said the morning of the shooting he and his roommate, Corbin Sutter, were leaving the Hidden Rivers apartments when Sills noticed an armed man getting out of a Chevrolet Impala with tinted windows and heading toward him.

Sills said he was scared, so he bolted from the passenger seat of his buddy's car. "My life is in danger, so I turned and ran," he said. "I didn't even hear a shot."

Sutter declined to be interviewed Thursday.

Sills' court-appointed attorney told Judge Foster in the 9 a.m. hearing that Sills would like a new attorney. But Foster seemed doubtful that Sills was so negatively affected by pain medication that he required a new hearing.

"What is your date of birth?" Foster asked. "What is my name?"

To each question, Sills answered correctly. Attorneys for both sides then met quietly with the judge at his bench.

"I don't want you to play games here," Foster said afterward, before agreeing to delay.

Sills, who spoke quickly, also told the Times he was under the influence of pain medication.

In 2005 the University of South Florida basketball team recruited Sills to play point guard , but quickly dismissed him. Then-coach Robert McCullum cited Sills' poor attitude.

Sills studied communications at the school for two semesters in 2005, but left without graduating, a USF spokeswoman said.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to the report. Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3383.

I was unarmed, man shot by U.S. marshal in Tampa says 10/23/08 [Last modified: Saturday, October 25, 2008 2:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Empire' star Grace Byers keynotes USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy luncheon

    Human Interest

    BY AMY SCHERZER

    TAMPA — The first University of South Florida graduate to address the USF's Women in Leadership & Philanthropy supporters, Grace Gealey Byers, class of 2006, centered her speech on her first name, turning it into a verb to share life lessons.

    Grace Byers, University of South Florida Class of 2006, stars on the Fox television show Empire. She delivered the keynote at the USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy luncheon Friday. Photo by Amy Scherzer
  2. Southeast Seminole Heights holds candlelight vigil for victims' families and each other

    News

    TAMPA — They came together in solidarity in Southeast Seminole Heights, to sustain three families in their grief and to confront fear, at a candlelight vigil held Sunday night in the central Tampa neighborhood.

    A peaceful march that began on east New Orleans Avenue was held during the candlelight vigil for the three victims who were killed in the recent shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
  3. It's not just Puerto Rico: FEMA bogs down in Florida, Texas too

    HOUSTON — Outside Rachel Roberts' house, a skeleton sits on a chair next to the driveway, a skeleton child on its lap, an empty cup in its hand and a sign at its feet that reads "Waiting on FEMA."

    Ernestino Leon sits among the debris removed from his family’s flood-damaged Bonita Springs home on Oct. 11. He has waited five weeks for FEMA to provide $10,000 to repair the home.
  4. McConnell says he's awaiting Trump guidance on health care

    STERLING, Va. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he's willing to bring bipartisan health care legislation to the floor if President Donald Trump makes clear he supports it.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s “not certain yet” on what Trump wants.
  5. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.