Deputy-involved shooting in Hillsborough County - FOX 13 News

Deputy-involved shooting in Hillsborough County

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SEFFNER (FOX 13) -

Gunfire reupted at the gas pumps outside a crowded Race Track convenience store.

Hillsborough detectives were on the look-out for 25-year-old Justin Bryant, an accused car thief, who was wanted on several warrants for grand theft auto.

"This is a career criminal with at least 46 felony arrests prior to this not counting the four today that we had for him," said Col. Greg Brown, with the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office.

Detectives say they spotted him pulling up in yet another stolen SUV. But when they moved in to make the arrest, they say Bryant tried to run them over.

"One was pushing himself off the hood of the vehicle trying to back track and avoid being run over by him," Col. Brown said.

So, they opened fire, shooting him once in the chest, then taking him into custody. He's now charged with grand theft auto and two new counts of aggravated assault with a motor vehicle on a law enforcement officer.

At the same time, on the other side of the Bay, Pinellas deputies were dealing with their own drama.

And it also played out right in front of customers at this Circle-K on Belcher Road.

First they heard gunshots, then they saw a stolen car flying into the air and landing in a ditch.

"All the deputies were trying to do is to approach him, conduct an investigation and find out if the car was in fact still stolen and whether he was responsible for it," Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said.

A deputy running tags realized the car was stolen, called for back-up and followed it. But when the suspect, Bryant Collins, saw the deputies, they say he tried to get away by ramming one of their cruisers. That's when one of the deputies pulled out a gun.

"The guy laid down to like dodge the bullets, and when he laid down I guess he didn't see to turn, he hit the curb, his whole car jumped in the air. Then just slid sideways and went boom into the water and those deputies were on him like mad," said one witness.

Collins wasn't hurt, but he was arrested. He now faces several charges including aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer.

The detectives involved in the Hillsborough shooting will be placed on paid administrative leave until the investigation is over. The Pinellas County deputy invovled in the shooting there will also be on routine leave.

 

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