TAMPA — Detectives arrested a man they say took part in a home invasion earlier this month that ended with a Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy shot in the neck.
Victor M. Maldonado, 35, turned up Monday at the Salvation Army probation office on Florida Avenue. He was charged with armed robbery and armed burglary with battery. A second man, Miguel Angel Serrano, 28, had already been charged with the shooting of Deputy Miguel Galarza.
Authorities released few details about Maldonado's role in the Oct. 13 home invasion but said forensic evidence put him inside the apartment.
"We have no reason to believe that he was involved in the deputy's shooting," sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said.
Deputy Galarza, who survived, may return to work next week, Carter said.
He was wounded while responding to a 911 call at 8329 Country Square Court in Town 'N Country. Galarza entered the unit and ordered a man to the floor. As Galarza prepared to handcuff the suspect, the man rose and struggled with him. A gun fired, hitting Galarza in the back of the neck, the Sheriff's Office reported.
The shooter fled, and Galarza was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital. The bullet, which entered and exited the back of his neck, penetrated tissue and some muscle. A slight change in the angle of the bullet could have inflicted a more serious injury, according to the surgeon who treated him. Instead Galarza was released in just hours.
Meanwhile, a dragnet was set up at the shooting scene. Deputies stopped a car near Wilsky Boulevard and Dry Creek Drive, where they found Serrano hiding in the back seat.
Serrano remains jailed on charges of attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, armed home invasion and possession of marijuana.
State records show he had been arrested three times on charges that included cocaine possession and domestic battery.
State records show that Maldonado has been arrested several times on suspicion of burglary and cocaine trafficking. The burglary charges were dropped or abandoned. He spent more than two years in prison between 2001 and 2003 for charges of cocaine trafficking and conspiracy to traffic drugs, state prison records show.
Maldonado was held without bail in the Orient Road Jail.
Justin George can be reached at (813) 226-3368 or email@example.com.