ZEPHYRHILLS — Luis Tull started his crime spree Wednesday night by trying to carjack someone he knew at a Zephyrhills restaurant, deputies say.
During the 14-hour manhunt that followed, the 36-year-old convicted felon would shoot his acquaintance in the leg, steal his car, flee to Dade City, steal another car, carjack yet another driver and then drive at two deputies, drawing their fire, according to Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco.
“This is a just very violent individual,” Nocco said at a midday news conference Thursday after Tull’s arrest. “It’s horrible that someone got shot in the leg but this could have been way worse.”
Nocco gave this account of the spree:
About 8 p.m. Wednesday, Tull saw someone he knew at the McDonald’s at 34367 State Road 54. Tull tried to get into that person’s vehicle while flashing a gun and a fight ensued. Tull fled on foot a short distance and tried to carjack a second person at the McDonald’s.
When the first victim saw the new struggle, he rushed to help. Tull shot him in the leg and stole his car. Tull drove to the home of someone he knows in Dade City. He got into a fight there, pointed a gun and fled.
K-9 units tracked Tull to another house. When deputies knocked on the door, a woman answered and said her car had been stolen.
“She is now victim number four,” Nocco said.
Meantime, the Sheriff’s Office placed a number of calls seeking tips from people who subscribe to its alerts system.
“There were people saying, ‘I was getting numerous calls’” Nocco said. “Well, yes, this was an incident that kept going on and on as the night kept going."
Thursday morning, someone called to report seeing Tull get into a Mustang. The Mustang’s driver later told deputies he was behind the wheel when Tull got in, signaled that he had a gun and said, “Drive me.”
Two deputies in separate vehicles spotted the Mustang about 10 a.m. and boxed it in along Fort King Road, a north-south thoroughfare between Dade City and Zephyrhills. One deputy pulled in front of the Mustang, the other deputy behind.
At that point, the driver of the Mustang jumped out and raised his hands in the air.
“The suspect told the driver, ‘Keep going, keep going,' and he said, ‘No, I’m not getting in a pursuit with the police.’” Nocco said.
Tull moved into the driver’s seat and backed up toward a deputy standing behind the car, then pulled forward toward the deputy parked in front. Both deputies fired their service weapons at the Mustang. Tull drove a short distance and crashed. The deputies used an electronic stun device to subdue him. He was arrested at the scene.
The Sheriff’s Office charged Tull with three counts of carjacking, one count of aggravated battery with a firearm, battery with a firearm, being a felon in possession of a firearms, two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement. The Dade City Police Department will add more charges in connection with the altercation at the home and the car stolen from the other house, Nocco said.
The sheriff did not release the names of the victims, including those of the two deputies who fired at Tull. Nocco cited Marsy’s Law, a state constitutional amendment designed to protect victims’ rights. Sheriff’s Office spokesman Kevin Doll said the office’s legal counsel had advised that the law also applies to deputies in their official duties.
Both deputies have been placed on routine paid administrative while a review of the shooting is conducted.
Records show Tull has a lengthy arrest history in Florida with convictions for robbery, burglary, grand theft, carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct. He was mostly recently arrested in August in Pasco on a charge of aggravated assault with a weapon. Prosecutors dropped the charge on Sept. 30.
Times senior news researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.