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Pasco SWAT team finds gunman dead after shoot-out with deputies

Pasco deputies were looking for a suspect in a string of overnight shootings and burglaries when the trail led them Saturday to a home in New Port Richey.

Those deputies became the suspect's next targets, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, and his last.

The deputies entered the home to speak to the suspect, said Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco, and then the man opened fire on them.

The three deputies "stood their ground," the sheriff said, and returned fire.

An hour after the standoff started, the suspect was found dead just after 7:15 p.m. inside 5702 Columbia Drive, according to the Sheriff's Office.

No deputies were injured. They also appear to have fired the fatal gunshot. The suspect was hit at least once, sheriff's officials said, but the wound did not appear to be self-inflicted. Deputies did not say if anyone else was inside the house when the shooting took place.

On Sunday morning, the Sheriff's Office said it was still trying to positively identify the suspect and then notify relatives.

It was the second time in a week that a Pasco County law enforcement officer was targeted by gunfire.

A Zephyrhills police officer was shot at early Tuesday morning during a high-speed pursuit, authorities said, by a 29-year-old woman and her two younger brothers. The siblings are now considered heavily armed fugitives suspected in a Georgia bank robbery and are wanted by the FBI.

"For all we've been through this week," Nocco said, "I've got to thank God that everybody is safe and that our deputies are safe."

Deputies believe the suspect in Saturday's incident committed a series of shootings and attempted burglaries late Friday night and early Saturday morning in the western part of Pasco County.

Around 6 p.m. Saturday, the three deputies went to the residence near Trouble Creek Road and Grand Boulevard to speak to the suspect, according to Nocco. The first gunshots were reported at 6:11 p.m.

The gunman retreated into a room inside the house. But the three deputies stayed where they were, Nocco said, inside the house. Outside, more deputies evacuated the surrounding neighborhood.

The SWAT team entered the home at 7:15 p.m., according to the Sheriff's Office, relieving the three deputies still inside. The SWAT deputies found the suspect's body in a room inside the home.

Three minutes later, paramedics pronounced the suspect dead.

The three deputies who fired their weapons will be placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office will investigate the shooting, which is also standard procedure in these cases.

Pasco SWAT team finds gunman dead after shoot-out with deputies 08/06/11 [Last modified: Sunday, August 7, 2011 1:00pm]

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