Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Spring Hill man dies after jolts from Taser

Nehemiah Lazar Dillard stood barefoot in the front yard of a stranger's home in a town south of Gainesville and delivered a message on Sunday.

"I'm going to meet my maker," he said. "And I'm not going alone."

By Monday morning, the 29-year-old Spring Hill man was dead.

Under the Baker Act, deputies had admitted Dillard into Gainesville's Meridian Behavioral Healthcare facility Sunday evening. The next morning, authorities say, he threatened staff members and struck one of them. When deputies arrived, they shot the 6-foot-3, 276-pound man twice with Tasers after he attacked them as well, according to Alachua County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Todd Kelly.

After Dillard was subdued and handcuffed, Kelly said, a staffer at the facility injected him with drugs. Dillard went into cardiac arrest and died soon after.

The medical examiner will determine whether the Taser shocks or possibly the injected drugs contributed to Dillard's death, Kelly said.

"We've had tons of Taser deployments over the years and always had positive results," he said. "We've never had any experiences resulting in something like that."

Authorities don't know why Dillard went to the home in Micanopy or how he got there. They suspect he may have traveled the 86 miles from Spring Hill on foot.

The residents of the home where Dillard was found gave him a pair of shoes and called his wife in Spring Hill, authorities said. She told them he had said the same things to her about his maker and not going alone.

Dillard was calm when deputies arrived, Kelly said, but they still admitted him into the behavioral health facility.

The next morning, Kelly said, Dillard stripped down to his underwear, tossed heavy metal chairs and destroyed other property. Authorities still haven't determined what prompted the outburst.

A pair of deputies tried to calm him down, but authorities say he wouldn't listen. When one of them first shot Dillard with a Taser, it didn't stop him, Kelly said. It made him more angry.

A fight ensued. Dillard punched the deputy in the face and cut his eye. A second deputy deployed a Taser, and the massive man fell to the floor. Still struggling, they handcuffed him. Then, Kelly said, someone at the facility injected two shots of an unknown drug into Dillard's buttocks.

Dillard was arrested in Hernando County on Jan. 30 after an alleged fight with his wife. According to a report, he poked her several times in the head, pulled her off the couch, then struck her across the face.

The couple, the report said, had been married for 10 years and had two children together.

A phone number listed on Dillard's arrest report went to voicemail. He spoke in a calm, quiet voice and called himself "Mr. Dillard."

"Thank you very much," he said at its end. "Have a blessed day."

John Woodrow Cox can be reached at (352) 848-1432 or

Spring Hill man dies after jolts from Taser 03/05/12 [Last modified: Monday, March 5, 2012 11:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics


    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips


    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.