Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

State attorney: Pasco deputy justified in fatal shooting

NEW PORT RICHEY — A Pasco sheriff's deputy was justified in the fatal shooting of a man who fired at deputies after setting fire to a car dealership, an investigation by the Pasco Pinellas State Attorney's Office determined.

In a letter to Sheriff Chris Nocco on Thursday, State Attorney Bernie McCabe wrote that Patrick Tillery's death May 15 was the result of being shot by Sgt. Jeremy Colhouer "while in the performance of his legal duty and that the shooting was justifiable homicide."

In mid April, Tillery, 43, bought an SUV from Rock Bottom Auto Sales in Hudson. Upset over his purchase, he went back May 12, threatened owner Mario Vavoulis and vowed to burn down his business and kill him.

At 7 p.m. May 14, detectives say, he followed through. Tillery went to the dealership, smashed a surveillance camera and a Corvette's windshield with a brick, and set a Nissan Frontier on fire behind the building.

Ten minutes later, cameras at the dealership's other location, on U.S. 19, picked up a man with a red gas can dousing a Toyota 4Runner. The fire also burned the side of the building.

Tillery had an extensive criminal history in Pinellas County, records show. In 13 arrests, he was charged with fleeing to elude, burglary, vehicle theft, resisting an officer and burglary with assault.

When he returned to his home on Yucca Drive in New Port Richey about 9 p.m., he told his wife and 14-year-old daughter about the crimes. About 1:15 a.m., deputies showed up at his house to arrest him on arson charges.

Tillery's wife, Jessica, told deputies her husband had left hours earlier but they were free to search the house.

At a news conference the next day, Nocco said Jessica Tillery led the deputies into a potentially fatal situation.

"She walked our people into an ambush," Nocco said.

Two deputies searched the house and encountered Tillery, in a shooter's stance in a bedroom down a hall.

Deputy Hans Bollenbacher dropped to the floor to take cover as Tillery shot at him. Bollenbacher shot two times and Colhouer shot three times.

Tillery fired at the deputies four times. Two of their bullets hit Tillery; one from Colhouers' gun struck him in the chest and killed him, McCabe wrote.

Jessica Tillery was charged with one count of accessory after the fact, a third-degree felony, on May 20. She posted bail, pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

A message to her phone was not returned.

State attorney: Pasco deputy justified in fatal shooting 07/10/14 [Last modified: Thursday, July 10, 2014 10:34pm]
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.