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Pasco deputies cleared in shooting death

Published Oct. 1, 2014

State Attorney Bernie McCabe's office has cleared two Pasco sheriff's deputies in the shooting death of an unarmed Zephyrhills man on July 1.

Jerry Dwight Brown, 41, was shot three times during an undercover drug bust when he refused to surrender and appeared to reach for a weapon, according to an investigative report released by McCabe.

Brown was inside an unmarked sheriff's car near Big Ben's Used Tires, 4128 Gall Blvd., trying to sell a bag of pills to an undercover deputy seated next to him when the deputy gave a signal for uniformed deputies to move in, the report said.

Despite repeated requests to surrender and "show me your hands," Brown tried to open the passenger door to run, but it was closed by a deputy outside the car. Twice he appeared to reach inside a front pocket.

Sgt. Clinton Cabbage, thinking Brown was reaching for a gun, fired three times into the car's passenger side. Two bullets struck Brown.

After the shots, Detective Daniel Green opened the passenger door and ordered Brown to surrender. The report said Brown tried to climb into the back seat and again seemed to reach into his pocket. Green fired once, striking Brown in the back.

Afterward, deputies pulled Brown from the car and performed CPR before paramedics arrived. He later died at Florida Hospital in Zephyrhills.

The report concludes that Cabbage and Green fired during "the legal performance of their lawful duties and that the shooting was justifiable homicide."

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said McCabe's report confirmed what the agency's internal investigation found.

"The actions the detectives took out there were reactive to the actions the suspect took," Nocco said.

Staff Writer Lisa Buie contributed to this article.