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Hillsborough deputy shot while responding to 911 call

TAMPA — A Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputy survived multiple gunshot wounds late Friday after responding to a domestic dispute near Carrollwood.

Her alleged shooter was found unconscious nearly five hours later after deputies gained entry into an apartment in which he had barricaded himself. The unidentified 24-year-old white male was taken to a local hospital and his condition was not available, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Larry McKinnon.

Sheriff David Gee identified the wounded deputy as Lyonelle Deveaux, 35, a five-year veteran of his agency. She was listed in stable condition early this morning at St. Joseph's Hospital.

Gee said Deveaux was shot three times at close range — in the upper leg, lower leg and shoulder — by what was believed to be a large-caliber handgun. She was wearing a protective vest.

It was the latest in a string of shootings against law enforcement officers in the Tampa Bay region in recent years.

"We have seen a shift in our society, unfortunately," Gee said. "I've been in this for 35 years and I've never seen so many police officers shot."

Deveaux had responded to a 911 call placed at 10:22 p.m. Friday from the Inwood Park Apartment Homes complex at 4747 W Waters Ave. The caller hung up but Gee indicated his officers believe it was placed by someone trying to report a domestic dispute.

When Deveaux arrived at the complex, she was met at the entry gate by a woman. The deputy placed the woman inside her cruiser in preparation for taking a statement from her.

As Deveaux stood outside the car, Gee said she was approached by the woman's boyfriend, who pulled a gun from underneath his shirt. He is believed to have fired at least nine shots before retreating into the complex.

The man barricaded himself inside an apartment. About two dozen people living in the same building were evacuated. Roads within a half-mile radius of the complex were closed to traffic.

About 50 law enforcement officers gathered at the scene, including negotiators who, according to early reports, were unable to make contact with the suspect. A tactical team had taken up positions within the complex.

"He's going to be leaving here one way or another," Gee said after arriving around midnight.

Shortly after 2 a.m., deputies began discharging the first of 14 canisters of a chemical agent in hopes of forcing him out of the apartment. When the suspect failed to emerge, deputies sent in a robot and discovered he was unconscious.

Gee said the man did not appear to have any physical injuries. The sheriff said he was not sure what caused the suspect to lose consciousness.

Heightening the tension of the standoff, Gee said the man is believed to have had military experience and had access to multiple weapons inside the apartment, including rifles.

Bay area law enforcement officers have been the victims in multiple shootings in relatively short period of time, some with more tragic endings.

Earlier this year, three St. Petersburg police officers were shot and killed in the line of duty. Officer David Crawford was killed in February while investigating a prowler report. Sgt. Thomas Baitinger and canine patrol Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz were shot and killed in January during a gun battle with a fugitive hiding in an attic.

Last year, Tampa police officers David L. Curtis and Jeffrey A. Kocab were shot and killed during a traffic stop. And in 2009, Tampa police Cpl. Mike Roberts was shot and killed by a suspect.

Deveaux has served in the same squad as Deputy Miguel Galarza, who was shot in the neck in 2009 while responding to a Town 'N Country home invasion. Galarza survived and his shooter, Miguel Serrano, was sentenced to life in prison earlier this year.

Staff writer Jodie Tillman contributed to this report.

Hillsborough deputy shot while responding to 911 call 10/01/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 21, 2011 7:38pm]
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