Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Public safety

Suspect remains hospitalized after deputy-involved shooting

LARGO — A man who was shot by sheriff's deputies Friday night while carrying an assault rifle remained hospitalized Saturday with life threatening injuries.

Anthony Gonzalez, 26, underwent surgery Friday night at Bayfront Medical Center after he was shot multiple times during a confrontation with two Pinellas County sheriff's deputies, officials said.

A woman who answered the door Saturday at his apartment, at 11960 133rd Ave. N in Largo, said the family wasn't sure if he was going to survive. She said Pamela Gonzalez, Anthony's mother, was at the hospital with him Saturday afternoon. The woman declined further comment.

The two deputies who shot Gonzalez were identified late Friday as Steven Smith, 29, and Mark Douglas, 46. Neither deputy was injured, officials said. They were placed on administrative leave, which is routine in deputy-involved shootings.

Both Smith and Douglas have been with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office for less than a year, officials said. Smith was hired in October and Douglas in January. It was unclear if either deputy had prior law enforcement experience prior to joining the sheriff's office.

The deputies were called at about 8:30 p.m. Friday to the area near 119th Street just south of Ulmerton Road after someone reported that a man with what appeared to be an AR-15 rifle was driving around in a sport utility vehicle and threatening to shoot people, sheriff's officials said.

After deputies arrived, they spotted the SUV and a short chase ensued. Pamela Gonzalez was behind the wheel, authorities said. While headed south on 119th Street, she pulled to the side of the road and Anthony Gonzalez got out of the passenger side, carrying the rifle.

He tried to climb over a nearby fence, authorities said.

Deputies Smith and Douglas then fired at Gonzalez, hitting him multiple times with rounds from a handgun and a rifle, authorities said. Both deputies gave an initial statement saying they had fired because Gonzalez aimed a gun at them, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said, but the shooting is still under investigation.

Gualtieri said Gonzalez was involved in dealing drugs.

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