Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Undercover drug sting leaves suspect dead, Hillsborough deputy hurt

Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office Col. Donna Lusczynski said the sting operation turned violent when the suspect tried to rob the deputy.

CAROLINA HIDALGO | Times

Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office Col. Donna Lusczynski said the sting operation turned violent when the suspect tried to rob the deputy.

TAMPA — A sting operation turned deadly Wednesday evening when an undercover deputy posing as a drug buyer and a suspect got into a violent struggle at an apartment complex, a sheriff's spokeswoman said.

The suspect was fatally shot.

The undercover deputy, whose name was not released, fell down stairs outside the complex and was taken to the hospital.

It happened about 5:30 p.m. in a stairwell outside the Cinnamon Cove Apartments at 12401 N 15th St. in the University area.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Col. Donna Lusczynski said the agency was responding to citizen complaints when it sent an undercover deputy to the complex Wednesday to pose as a crack cocaine buyer.

But the suspect tried to rob the undercover deputy, she said, and a violent struggle ensued. As the two men fought over the deputy's gun, it fired several times, Lusczynski said.

Two undercover deputies serving as backup saw the struggle, identified themselves as deputies, told the suspect to release the gun and then — when he refused to comply — fired, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Dallas Gillyard, 65, a former security officer, he said the man killed was his stepson, Robert Gary Jr. of Tampa.

"He just turned 31 yesterday," he said. "That's a hell of a birthday present courtesy of the Hillsborough sheriff." Gillyard said his stepson, whose parents are deceased, has sold drugs and been to prison in the past, but robbery was not his crime of choice.

"He never carried a gun or a knife," he said. "He wasn't violent. Sure, he sold drugs, but he never pulled a gun on nobody."

State records show that Gary's string of arrests began at age 13. While most were on drug, theft or battery charges, the records show he had twice been arrested on charges involving a weapon. The first, in 1996, was on a charge of aggravated assault with a weapon. The records do not show the disposition of the case. In the second, in 2009, a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon was dropped.

He served four prison terms on cocaine and theft convictions and was most recently released in August, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

It was not clear Wednesday night which gun fired the fatal shot, how many deputies fired or how many shots were fired.

It also was not clear what injuries the deputy suffered. The Sheriff's Office said in a statement that the backup deputies feared he had been shot, but Lusczynski declined to detail his injuries. They were described as non-life-threatening.

Dozens of people gathered outside of the police line at E 122nd Avenue and N 15th Street.

The neighborhood buzzed with disbelief at the Sheriff's Office version of events and many said Gary, at 5 feet 2, was too timid to attack an officer.

Gillyard's anger boiled over as he stood near his daughter's home by the crime-scene tape.

"Every time you turn around the police are killing somebody," he said.

Times news researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

Undercover drug sting leaves suspect dead, Hillsborough deputy hurt 01/09/13 [Last modified: Thursday, January 10, 2013 12:10am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Photo gallery: First images of the total solar eclipse

    Space

    Americans gazed in wonder through telescopes, cameras and disposable protective glasses Monday as the moon blotted out the midday sun in the first full-blown solar eclipse to sweep the U.S. from coast to coast in nearly a century.

    The moon covers the sun during a total eclipse Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, near Redmond, Ore.  [Ted S. Warren | Associated Press]
  2. FBI warns of spreading W-2 email theft scheme

    Personal Finance

    The IRS is warning businesses about a sharp increase in email phishing scams involving employees' W-2 forms — scams that can put staffers' Social Security numbers and other critical information in the hands of thieves.

    The IRS is warning businesses about a sharp increase in email phishing scams involving employees' W-2 forms.
[McClatchy DC/TNS file photo]
  3. Barcelona fugitive shot dead outside city wearing bomb belt

    World

    SUBIRATS, Spain — A man thought to be the driver in the Barcelona van attack was shot dead by Spanish police Monday after authorities announced he also was suspected of killing the owner of a hijacked getaway car. The fugitive was wearing a bomb belt, authorities said.

    Police bomb squad officers work by a road near Subirats, Spain, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. A police operation was underway Monday in an area west of Barcelona, and a Spanish newspaper reports that the fugitive in the city's van attack has been captured. Regional police said officers shot a man wearing a possible explosives belt in Subirats, a small town 45 kilometers (28 miles) west of Barcelona. [Associated Press]
  4. Man accused in slaying of two Kissimmee officers was well-regarded during time at MacDill

    Macdill

    A man accused of shooting to death two Kissimmee police officers was well-known at MacDill Air Force Base as a Marine who served key roles at two major commands.

    Everett Glenn Miller, a suspect in the fatal shooting of two Kissimmee police officers, was well-regarded by colleagues with whom he worked at MacDill Air Force Base. But his Facebook posts, friends say, show he was becoming increasingly angry. [Kissimmee Police Department]
  5. Recipe for Chicken Wings with Coconut Sweet Potato Puree

    Cooking

    This dish is an homage to one of my favorite Epcot International Food and Wine Festival dishes: Grilled Beef Skewer With Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Puree from the Patagonia kiosk. A boniato is a sweet potato with whiter flesh and a typically sweeter flavor. I use standard sweet potatoes in this recipe, plus a little …

    Chicken Wings with Sweet Potato Puree. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times Food Editor.