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  1. Hillsborough

Hillsborough deputy fatally shoots man coming towards him with knife

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Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates.
Published Aug. 1, 2019

Editor's Note: If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273–8255 or call the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay by dialing 2-1-1.

TAMPA — A suicidal man who kept coming towards a deputy with a knife was shot and killed Thursday evening, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Lenny Blaine Griffin was pronounced dead at a local hospital. He turned 48 on Thursday.

Deputy Nguyen Tran, 28, fired his service weapon at Griffin, the agency said. He was placed on administrative leave after the incident.

The shooting took place just after 6 p.m. at 8607 Misty River Court. The Sheriff's Office gave this account:

One of Griffin's relatives called 911 to report that he was taking medication and threatening suicide.

Griffin had recently lost his wife and was dealing with health and financial problems, his girlfriend later told the Sheriff's Office. Deputies have visited Griffin's home in the past to check on him.

When Tran arrived, the girlfriend let the deputy inside. Then Griffin exited a bedroom carrying a chef's knife, the agency said. He ignored the deputy's commands to drop the knife, instead holding it above his shoulder.

The deputy backed out of the house as Griffin continued to approach him with the knife. The deputy went into the front yard, then went to a neighbor's yard, traveling about 150 feet.

Griffin continued to advance toward the deputy with the knife and ignored orders to drop it, the Sheriff's Office said.

Tran then fired his weapon at Griffin "out of fear for his own life," the agency said.

He joined the Sheriff's Office in 2016 and save for a traffic crash has no other disciplinary incidents, the agency said.

No other information about the incident was released.

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