Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco Fire Rescue captain's retirement came amid investigation

LAND O'LAKES — Pasco Fire Rescue Capt. Louis Herrero submitted his resignation this week on the day an investigation into a New Year's Eve incident with law enforcement was set to begin.

Herrero, a 27-year-veteran with the agency, was told of the impending internal investigation last week, Pasco Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Cynthia Holland told the Times on Thursday. Holland said Herrero's decision to retire Tuesday was his own.

"We don't force anyone to retire," she said.

The incident happened at Herrero's home in Lutz. He was "clearly intoxicated and quite agitated" when he called the Pasco County Sheriff's Office twice on Dec. 31 to ask deputies to arrest his wife for taking his car keys, a report states. Herrero, who is 47 and made $71,774 a year, berated the deputies, asking if they knew who they were dealing with, that he was a captain and the deputies didn't make as much money as he did, the report says.

"I informed Louis I was not impressed with his tenure nor the amount of money he made," Pasco Deputy Royce Rodgers wrote. "I suggested he go inside the house and remain quiet."

No one was arrested.

Herrero told the Times on Thursday that the investigation had nothing to do with his decision to leave.

He said he retired to spend more time with his wife and children, ages 20, 17 and 8. He said he suffers with post-traumatic stress disorder from the decades of responding to 911 calls and seeing the horrific side of life: dead children, mangled corpses, the screams of people pleading with responders.

He said he has a problem with alcohol, which he used as a Band-Aid for the PTSD. He said he has back and knee problems from the physical grind of the job. He said he worried that one more big fire might disable him for life.

Since leaving, he said, "I feel like the weight of the world has been taken off my shoulders."

Herrero said his PTSD was the cause of his highly publicized breakdown in December 2011, when he had a four-hour standoff with a SWAT team. Authorities said Herrero was intoxicated and armed when a friend called for help.

At one point, Herrero raised his shotgun toward law enforcement, prompting a detective to fire three shots at him. Herrero was not injured and he didn't fire his gun.

"Without the restraint of the Pasco County SWAT team, I wouldn't be here today," he said.

He's not sure what he's going to do in retirement, but he knows he wants to tell his story to first responders so he can help them.

"We are expected to be immune to the things that we see," he said, "and that's just not the case."

Pasco Fire Rescue captain's retirement came amid investigation 01/10/13 [Last modified: Thursday, January 10, 2013 6:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Cheers, whoops for McCain's return, then impassioned speech


    WASHINGTON — In high drama at the Capitol, Sen. John McCain on Tuesday delivered a crucial vote in the Republican drive to dismantle the health care law, a win for President Donald Trump and GOP leaders, and then leveled a broadside at how the GOP got there.

    In this image from video provided by C-SPAN2, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. is embraced by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of N.Y. as he arrives of the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday. [C-SPAN2 via AP]
  2. For starters: Slumping LoMo, Dickerson not in Rays lineup tonight vs LHP


    1B Logan Morrison and LF Corey Dickerson, two of the main slumpers in the Rays lineup, are not in tonight's lineup with the Orioles throwing LHP Wade Miley.

    Logan Morrison is 0-for-12 on this homestand.
  3. Pence breaks tie as Senate votes to begin debating 'Obamacare' repeal


    WASHINGTON — The Senate narrowly voted Tuesday to begin debate on a bill to repeal major provisions of the health care law, taking a pivotal step forward after the dramatic return of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who cast a crucial vote despite his diagnosis of brain cancer.

    Vice President Mike Pence (R) and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus arrive on Capitol Hill, Tuesday in Washington, D.C. [Getty Images]
  4. Rubio helps GOP secure votes to proceed on health care debate


    WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans secured enough votes to proceed to debate on health care proposals, with Marco Rubio of Floirda joining in.

  5. Ex-Buc Booger McFarland becomes ABC college football analyst


    Former Bucs defensive lineman Booger McFarland is continuing his broadcasting rise by joining ABC's studio coverage for the upcoming college football season, ESPN announced Tuesday.

    Former Bucs lineman Booger McFarland (No. 92) will become an ABC studio analyst this college football season.