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Pasco deputy cleared in Christmas Day shooting

Published Feb. 17, 2012

HUDSON — A Pasco sheriff's deputy who shot and killed a man on Christmas Day was found justified in his actions and will not be charged, according to a report from the State Attorney's Office.

The report, released Thursday, provides the first full account of the Dec. 25 shooting of Brian Naab.

Deputies were called about 6 p.m. to Naab's home at 6921 Southwind Drive. Neighbors said Naab, 49, was in his yard shooting a gun.

When Cpl. Jose Valenzuela got to the house, he saw Naab in the front lawn wrestling with his girlfriend, Candi Schoneman, over control of a shotgun.

Valenzuela, 42, got out of his cruiser, pulled out his gun and ordered the couple to drop the weapon, the report states.

"No, get off my property," Naab told the deputy. "I will shoot you."

And, according to the document, Naab raised the shotgun in the air and fired it once. Schoneman got the gun away from her boyfriend, walked away and set the weapon down.

Naab had another gun in his waistband, a silver colored pistol, authorities said.

Valenzuela "still having his gun drawn, instructed Brian Naab who was walking toward Valenzuela to stop and put his gun down," the report states. "As Brian Naab approached within 8 feet of Valenzuela he stated 'f--- this' and drew the firearm from his waist band."

The deputy told him to drop his weapon. Naab refused while raising the gun and "pointing it directly" at Valenzuela, the report said.

Valenzuela fired at Naab, hitting him four times — once in the chest, twice in the left thigh and once in the left hand. He died at the scene.

The report said Naab's blood alcohol content was 0.349, more than four times the level at which state law presumes someone impaired.

Schoneman told investigators she and her boyfriend began Christmas day with a glass of wine at 7 a.m. She went to a friend's house and Naab stayed home. She said she got back around 4 p.m. and found Naab drunk "on the back deck shooting a shotgun up into the air while yelling at birds." Based on the empty bottles and cans, she thought he'd had at least a bottle of wine and nine cans of beer.

Neighbors said Naab was on disability because of back and arm injuries suffered from three motorcycle accidents. A neighbor who complained to Naab about his shooting said Naab threatened to shoot him.

Valenzuela was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, which is standard procedure when a deputy fires a weapon. He is now back on duty, said Pasco sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll.

Erin Sullivan can be reached at esullivan@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6229.

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