SAFETY HARBOR — Four Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputies shot a 43-year-old Tampa man Thursday who they believed was involved in a carjacking the day before, according to the Clearwater Police Department.
Robert Hubbard was shot after he pointed a handgun at deputies, police said. He later died.
The Pinellas County Use of Deadly Force Investigative Task Force is investigating the shooting, with Clearwater police taking the lead. Under the guidelines laid out in the task force’s partnership agreement, the Clearwater and St. Petersburg police departments divide use-of-force incidents involving Pinellas County deputies, with Clearwater police investigating those that happen north of Ulmerton and Walsingham roads and St. Petersburg police handling those that happen south of that.
Clearwater Deputy Chief Michael Walek addressed the media at the scene.
He said the events began unfolding Wednesday, when Hubbard allegedly stole a vehicle at gunpoint in Hillsborough County. Later that night, the vehicle was identified in an attempted robbery in the Trinity area of Pasco County, Walek said. He did not describe the vehicle.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office issued an alert about the carjacking and described Hubbard as “armed and dangerous” and said he had expressed a desire to have a shootout with law enforcement, according to Walek.
In Hillsborough County, Hubbard has been convicted of more than 10 criminal charges, including robbery, grand theft and a DUI. At the time of his death, he was also facing two counts of sexual cyberharrassment in a criminal case from April.
On Thursday, Pinellas deputies learned the vehicle was in Clearwater, but when they arrived at the scene Hubbard fled in the vehicle, Walek said. Deputies pursued and attempted multiple traffic stops, he said, but Hubbard did not stop.
Hubbard made his way to the Safety Harbor area, where deputies attempted to use stop sticks — a tool used to puncture a vehicle’s tires — to stop the vehicle, Walek said. Hubbard eventually brought the vehicle to a stop near Phillipe Parkway and Enterprise Road East.
Hubbard got out of the vehicle, armed with a handgun, and pointed it at deputies, Walek said. Four deputies then fired at him.
Walek identified the four deputies as Robert Smith, Daniel Abbott, Anthony Hellstern and Demarcus Flournoy.
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The investigation is ongoing, and no other details have been released as of this writing.