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Tampa man fatally shot by Hillsborough deputies after fight at party

Jonathan Huertas Reyes had put down his gun but then picked it up again and pointed it in the direction of deputies, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
In a screenshot from body camera video, a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office deputy points his service pistol at 32-year-old Jonathan Huertas Reyes at the Bristol Bay Apartments in Tampa early Sunday. The deputy was one of three who opened fire on Huertas Reyes after he picked up a gun, according to the Sheriff's Office. Reyes was hit at least once and pronounced dead at Tampa General Hospital.
In a screenshot from body camera video, a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office deputy points his service pistol at 32-year-old Jonathan Huertas Reyes at the Bristol Bay Apartments in Tampa early Sunday. The deputy was one of three who opened fire on Huertas Reyes after he picked up a gun, according to the Sheriff's Office. Reyes was hit at least once and pronounced dead at Tampa General Hospital. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Jul. 24, 2022|Updated Jul. 24, 2022

TAMPA — Hillsborough deputies opened fire on a Tampa man, fatally wounding him, following an altercation at a party early Sunday.

The shooting happened at the Bristol Bay Apartments, 4709 Bristol Bay Way, after deputies responded about 12:42 a.m. to a 911 call about a disturbance, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Two men had gotten into an argument and physical altercation in a parking lot of the beige and brown complex off U.S. 41 south of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, and one man fired his gun more than once. No one was wounded.

The fatal shooting occurred at the Bristol Bay Apartments off U.S. 41 south of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway.
The fatal shooting occurred at the Bristol Bay Apartments off U.S. 41 south of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway. [ Sue Carlton ]

When deputies found Jonathan Huertas Reyes, 32, walking through the complex and attempted to talk to him, he fled and they pursued him, Chief Dep. Donna Lusczynski said at a news conference early Sunday. When a deputy pulled out a Taser and made a noise with it to get him to stop, Huertas Reyes pulled a gun out of his fanny pack and held it to his head as he continued to walk away, Lusczynski said.

“The deputy continues to tell him ‘Put the gun down, put the gun down,’” she said.

By then, onlookers from the complex were also encouraging him in English and Spanish to put down his weapon, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Hillsborough deputies opened fire on Jonathan Huertas Reyes, 32, after he picked up a gun at the Bristol Bay Apartments in Tampa early Sunday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. Huertas Reyes was shot and pronounced dead at Tampa General Hospital.
Hillsborough deputies opened fire on Jonathan Huertas Reyes, 32, after he picked up a gun at the Bristol Bay Apartments in Tampa early Sunday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. Huertas Reyes was shot and pronounced dead at Tampa General Hospital. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]

A Spanish-speaking deputy talked with Huertas Reyes by phone while standing at a distance for more than 15 minutes, Lusczynski said.

Huertas Reyes said “that he might as well kill himself, he knows he’s going to jail because he shot at the other subject” in the earlier incident in the parking lot, she said.

“At one point the individual puts the gun down on the ground but then picks it up again and points it in the direction of our deputies at which time they fire their weapons,” Lusczynski said. “The subject is struck and falls to the ground.”

Huertas Reyes was pronounced dead at Tampa General Hospital.

Body camera footage from the Sheriff’s Office shows a deputy giving chase and yelling “Sheriff’s office, stop! Get on the ground!” and “Drop the gun! Drop the gun!”

The deputies who opened fire were: Sgt. Benjamin Kenney, employed with the Sheriff’s Office for 21 years; Dep. Nicholas Scudder, with the office for seven years; and Dep. Jeff Louis, with the office for one year.

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None of the deputies have been involved in the use of deadly force before this incident, the Sheriff’s Office said. They have been placed on administrative leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates.

Court records indicate Huertas Reyes was a father to at least one young child.

This is a developing story. Stay with tampabay.com for updates.