Monday, April 23, 2018
Public safety

Suspect in deputy-involved shooting had BB gun

TAMPA — Carlos Rivera-Rodriguez would not drop the gun early Wednesday, so a Hillsborough deputy shot him multiple times.

That gun, deputies said Friday, was a BB gun.

Rivera-Rodriguez had been holding a Walther CP99 BB gun, according to the Sheriff's Office. It looks like a small, black pistol.

The deputy — 16-year Sheriff's Office veteran Deputy James Woods — was afraid Rivera-Rodriguez, 27, was going to shoot him, according to the agency. He heard Rivera-Rodriguez rack the gun, as if preparing to fire.

On Friday, authorities charged Rivera-Rodriguez with two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer for the standoff that happened just before 6:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Oak Bend apartment complex near the University of South Florida.

According to the Sheriff's Office, a woman who was visiting a friend in a second-floor apartment phoned 911 and told authorities that her armed and angry boyfriend was outside. She said she could hear the man rack the gun.

Two deputies arrived, and the man, Rivera-Rodriguez, came downstairs to the parking lot. The deputies repeatedly shouted for him to drop the gun, officials said. He racked the gun again, and Woods shot him, officials said.

Woods, 44, works for the Homeland Security Division canine unit and was placed on leave while authorities investigate.

His personnel jacket is filled with commendations for solving robberies, burglaries and helping to find a missing grandmother. His reviews are positive ("hard-working," "team-player," "self-starter"). He has never been the subject of an internal investigation.

Rivera-Rodriguez has been arrested before on theft and marijuana possession charges, according to state records.

He was taken to the hospital in critical condition Wednesday. On Friday, he was in stable condition and was expected to live.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.

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