Eviction turns into standoff, closes Hillsborough Avenue - FOX 13 News

Eviction turns into standoff, closes Hillsborough Avenue

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

A stand-off situation that stopped traffic on Hillsborough Avenue and caused more than a few tense moments Friday morning all started as an eviction.

Two Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputies went to the Tudor Cay Condominiums to serve 59-year-old William Elliot a final eviction notice.

Investigators say the deputies knocked and no one answered.

When they entered the home, they say Elliot had a gun.

One deputy made it out while another was trapped in the home for three hours, until the SWAT team was able to get him out through a window.

Eventually deputies were able to get Elliot of out the home without incident, but the standoff shows just how dangerous an eviction can be.

"It's a volatile, emotional time in a person's life when you lose your home," says Colonel Jim Previtera of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

He says this is the first time he's seen an eviction turn into a standoff, but that doesn't mean deputies haven't faced danger in those situations.

"We have, during the eviction process before, encountered people that have taken their own lives, we have encountered all kinds of complicated situations from dangerous animals, to just despondent persons," Previtera said.

The experts say there are several factors that may lead a person to extreme behavior during a stressful situation like an eviction.

"It's almost always some kind of combination of factors so there may be some condition at play that leads someone, whether it's a mental health issue or substance abuse, to make them more susceptible to acting out or acting impulsively," said clinical psychologist Dr. Jeremy Gaies.

Investigators say Elliot was intoxicated and was eventually taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he is being held under the Baker Act.

Evictions call for trained professionals, and Colonel Previtera says despite the dangers, deputies are trained to get the job done safely.

"We always explore the best option, but there comes a time when the law says we have to act and we have to move a person out," Previtera explained.

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