Monday, June 25, 2018
Public safety

Off-duty deputy and officer shoot armed naked woman in Spring Hill

SPRING HILL — A naked woman was shot to death Saturday in Spring Hill after she walked up to an off-duty Hernando sheriff's deputy and an off-duty Tampa police officer and showed a weapon, sheriff's officials said.

The incident happened at a party about 1:17 p.m. at 9070 Orchard Parkway.

Hernando County sheriff's Detective Rocky Howard, 31, and Tampa police Officer William Mechler, 26, were attending the gathering when the woman, who was acting irrationally, approached them, said Hernando sheriff's Lt. Cinda Moore.

"It's my understanding that they did not know her," Moore said.

The woman left the gathering and returned a short time later with a weapon, officials said. Authorities did not disclose the weapon type; nor did they release the woman's name or age.

When she returned, one or both men fired their guns. She died at the scene.

"I can tell you that she was not part of the gathering, nor was she invited to the gathering," said Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhaus. "So, it wasn't like she was invited to the group. She actually came up uninvited."

Howard and Mechler are acquaintances, Moore said. Howard, who lives near where the shooting happened, has worked for the Hernando County Sheriff's Office for six years. Mechler works for the Tampa Police Department and has four years of law enforcement experience.

Both were placed on administrative leave from their respective agencies pending the outcome of a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation of the shooting.

Neighbor Steve Hulgin said the incident is unusual for the area.

"It's a very, very quiet street," he said. "We all have 10-acre parcels here and it's just a nice quiet street. It's just strange."

Bay News 9 contributed to this report. Dan Sullivan can be reached at (727) 893-8321 or [email protected]

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