Two Pinellas County deputies fired multiple shots at a man with an automatic rifle, authorities said Friday, ending a terrifying few days for neighbors in a community in Largo.
Investigators said the events played out at around 8:30 p.m. on 119th Street North. Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Anthony Gonzalezz had been terrorizing the neighborhood with an AR-15-style automatic rifle.
"He had been ripped off for some drugs and he was looking for the people who had ripped him off for the drugs," the sheriff said.
Detectives said Gonzalezz's mother was driving him around the neighborhood and had the gun on him the whole time. Deputies pulled the vehicle over and the man got out of the passenger side carrying a gun and ran off, the sheriff's office said.
Deputies chased him, got into a confrontation and shot him, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri explained.
"He runs, he tries to get over a fence, at that point with an automatic rifle in his hands, a confrontation occurred with the deputies. Two deputies fired on him, striking him numerous times," Gualtieri said.
A woman identifying herself as Gonzalezz's wife told Fox 13 News her husband doesn't have that kind of weapon and doesn't believe investigators' account of what happened. She said Gonzalezz, 26, remained in critical condition Saturday afternoon.
Neighbors, meanwhile, said if the suspect is guilty they're not surprised the ordeal ended the way it did.
"They got to worry about their safety first, that's foremost, and they got to get home to their families too," said Lorenzo Newton, who lives down the street from Gonzalezz. "I'd probably do the same exact thing to protect myself too."
"I got a five-year-old daughter," said Robert Rizzo, a resident of the same apartment complex as the suspect. "I don't want her around that. I'm real protective of her and I don't want nothing like that around her."
Sheriff Gualtieri said the deputies involved in the shooting will be placed on administrative leave until they're cleared by a psychologist to return to work.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
Didn't find what you were looking for?