At about 8:30 on the evening of Friday, May 24, 2013, Pinellas County Sherriff’s Deputies in Tampa responded to calls about an unknown male driving an SUV and threatening to shoot pedestrians and drivers with what appeared to be an AR-15 rifle. Officers arrived on the scene and immediately spotted the vehicle. After a short chase the vehicle stopped and Anthony Gonzalez exited from the passenger side of the vehicle carrying the firearm with him. The driver of the SUV was Pamela Gonzalez.
Gonzalez fled from the deputies and attempted to climb a fence to get away from them. At this time both deputies discharged their weapons hitting Gonzalez with multiple rounds. In their initial statement to the authorities both men stated that the suspect had aimed the rifle at them and for this reason they fired at him.
He was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery and where he remains in critical condition. Doctors say that he sustained life-threatening injuries as a result of the shooting. His mother, Pamela Gonzalez, was with him in the hospital on Saturday but it unclear if she was the driver of the SUV or if it was a person with the same name.
The deputies involved in the shooting, Steven Smith, aged 29 and Mark Douglas, aged 46, did not sustain any injuries in this incident. Both have been placed on Administrative Leave pending the results of an investigation into the events surrounding this shooting. Both deputies have been with the Sherriff’s Department for less than a year and at present it is not clear what, if any, experience they had in law enforcement before being hired.
When contacted for a statement, the Gonzalez family refused to comment saying only that Anthony was in hospital having been surgically treated for injuries sustained from gunshot wounds. The family is still in doubt as to whether he will survive. No information has been provided about the gun he was carrying. Further details will be made public as they become available.