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Former Pinellas deputy arrested on aggravated assault in road rage

Sheila Langlais, a former Pinellas deputy, was arrested on a charge of aggravated assault. [Pinellas County Jail photo] 
Published Mar. 24, 2016

A former Pinellas deputy was arrested Wednesday on a charge that she pointed a gun during a road rage incident in Palm Harbor last month.

Sheila Langlais, 46, was booked into the Pinellas County jail Wednesday, but was released the same afternoon on $5,000 bail.

On Feb. 7, Langlais, who was off duty and in her personal vehicle, had just pulled into the Twin Lakes apartments along U.S. 19 N in Palm Harbor to visit another off-duty deputy. She got into a traffic-related incident with Brett Dowd and his girlfriend, Brittany Byrne, as they tried to park their car. A baby was inside.

They yelled at each other and Langlais pointed a gun at them and then sped off, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said last month.

Dowd called 911. Deputies found Langlais' car inside the complex. When Langlais stepped outside to talk to deputies, Dowd identified her as the other driver, the sheriff said.

Langlais told them there was a confrontation, but she denied carrying a gun that afternoon.

But after the deputy she was visiting told investigators Langlais had told her she did point a gun at someone before entering her apartment, Langlais admitted to brandishing her gun.

Dowd and Byrne could not be reached for comments Wednesday.

The Sheriff's Office forwarded the investigation to prosecutors and Langlais resigned the next day.

On Wednesday, a warrant on the aggravated assault charge was issued for Langlais' arrest.

Langlais' law enforcement career began in February 2000 at the Tarpon Springs Police Department, where she resigned a year later while under investigation for a romantic relationship with a sergeant, records show.

In 2001, she started working for the Pinellas Park police department. After several policy violations, including failing to end a pursuit as instructed by a supervisor, she resigned in November 2005.

Langlais began working at the Sheriff's Office in a non-sworn position in March 2013. A few months later, when the agency was in need of more deputies, Gualtieri spoke with her supervisors, who provided positive feedback. She became a deputy that summer. Langlais received high marks in her most recent evaluation.

"What she did was wrong, obviously, and disappointing that she would do that because her job performance was good," Gualtieri said Wednesday. "The system works, and she's being held accountable for it."

Contact Laura C. Morel at lmorel@tampabay.com. Follow @lauracmorel.

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