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Pinellas deputies’ use of deadly force ruled justified in Safety Harbor shooting of Tampa man

An investigation concluded that four Pinellas sheriff’s deputies used appropriate force when they shot and killed a carjacking suspect earlier this summer.
Investigators at the scene in Safety Harbor where Robert Hubbard was shot and killed by Pinellas County Sheriff's Office deputies in June.
Investigators at the scene in Safety Harbor where Robert Hubbard was shot and killed by Pinellas County Sheriff's Office deputies in June. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Aug. 18

The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office ruled Thursday that four Pinellas County sheriff’s deputies were justified in their use of deadly force in the killing of a carjacking suspect in Safety Harbor in June.

An investigation into the incident concluded the four deputies “were in the lawful performance of their legal duties and acting in the public interest to prevent future violent crimes” when they shot and killed the suspect, 43-year-old Robert Hubbard of Tampa.

Related: WARNING, GRAPHIC VIDEO: Tampa man killed by Pinellas deputies wanted ‘a nice shootout,’ police say

Hubbard was suspected of attempted armed robbery and aggravated assault when deputies were alerted that a vehicle believed to be stolen by Hubbard was spotted in the area. Deputies punctured the vehicle’s tires after Hubbard tried to flee.

Deputy Robert Smith, Detective Daniel Abbott, Cpl. Anthony Hellstern and Detective Demarcus Flournoy fired their weapons at Hubbard after he pointed a black BB gun that appeared to be a handgun directly at them.

Hubbard was pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation was aided by the county’s Use of Deadly Force Investigative Task Force.

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