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Man grabs Taser, shot by Hillsborough deputy near Brandon sports bar

BRANDON — A Hillsborough County deputy shot a man Wednesday afternoon after he grabbed a second deputy's Taser in a sports bar parking lot, the Sheriff's Office reported.

The man, Evelio David Rodriguez, 20, of Brandon, was reported to be in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital Wednesday night.

The deputies, Desirae Penrose, 27, and Christina Ammons, 45, were placed on routine paid leave pending an investigation.

The incident happened about 1:45 p.m. near a trash bin outside Barnacles at Providence Road and Town Center Boulevard.

Penrose and Ammons were responding to a trespassing call when they questioned Rodriguez outside Barnacles, sheriff's spokesman Larry McKinnon said.

Rodriguez tried to walk away, but because he had previously been warned about trespassing, the deputies tried to arrest him.

When he resisted, one deputy prepared to deploy her Taser, but the man took the weapon from her, McKinnon said. It's unclear whether Rodriguez was otherwise armed.

Both deputies tried to wrestle him to the ground, but he wound up on top of the deputy who had pulled out the Taser.

"Obviously, there was a tense struggle there, and it was a very bad thing," McKinnon said.

That's when the second deputy shot Rodriguez in the upper body, McKinnon said.

"It was a life-or-death struggle that had to be stopped," McKinnon said. "We've seen what were simple, routine minor criminal situations turn into officers dying while on duty," he said.

Neither deputy was hit with the Taser, he said.

Irma Davila, along with about a dozen others attending a networking event at Barnacles, watched through the windows as the situation escalated.

"When I looked, the guy was on the ground, and he had a female cop underneath him," Davila said. "The other female cop was trying to get him off of her. It was all happening really quickly."

Then she heard a shot, she said, and another.

When she looked again, Rodriguez was handcuffed on the ground.

"It was a scary situation," she said. "The cop who did the shooting was visibly shaking and upset."

Both deputies were part of the patrol division. Penrose, who fired the shot, is a five-year veteran of the agency. Ammons has served for 16 years.

Rodriguez's stepfather, who arrived on scene about an hour after the incident, said he was surprised by what deputies said occurred.

"People are saying he fought with police but he's too quiet and too skinny," Angel Luis Romero said.

Investigators intended to collect video from nearby surveillance cameras to learn more about what happened.

Rodriguez has been arrested five times in Hillsborough County on charges of trespassing since 2010, records show.

The last time was in February at the same location.

In December, he was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon but those charges were dropped.

Times reporter Stephanie Wang and researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Shelley Rossetter can be reached at srossetter@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2442.

Man grabs Taser, shot by Hillsborough deputy near Brandon sports bar 04/13/11 [Last modified: Thursday, April 14, 2011 12:39am]

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