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Deputies shoot at two gunmen in one night | News

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Deputies shoot at two gunmen in one night
News

Dade City, Florida -- Twice in one wild and scary night, deputies in Pasco County fired on people who they say pointed guns at them.

Photos: SWAT team shoots man in Dade City

The first incident was in Dade City.

At around 11 p.m. Sunday, Dade City police were called to a home on Morgan Street. Police say a man in the house had held a gun to a relative's head.

Police helped the two women in the house escape, with officers pulling one woman out through a back window, Dace City Police Chief Ray Velboom said.

The man remained inside, armed. The SWAT team -- a joint squad of Pasco County sheriff's deputies and New Port Richey police officers -- encircled the home.

At around 1 a.m., the man came to the doorway holding a gun at his side, Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said. Deputies tried to convince him to put down the gun and surrender.

"Negotiation did not last long at all -- maybe 10, 15 minutes at the most," Nocco said. "And I would say it wasn't even negotiation. It was us pleading to him, asking him to come out and have a peaceful resolution."

"He did not want anything to do with it."

Nocco said the man stepped out of that Dade City doorway, raised his gun, and pointed it at members of the SWAT team.

An unknown number of those deputies and officers opened fire, killing the man.

Nocco said the details of who fired shots and how many will be released at the close of the standard investigation into whether the shooting was justified.

10 News reporter Grayson Kamm asked the sheriff whether this was a case of "suicide by cop," and Nocco said yes, that's it appeared to be.

Chief Velboom said this same man had threatened to hurt his family members just eight days before. In that case, police were able to talk the man into putting down his gun.

At that time, he was taken into custody under the Baker Act, a law that allows for someone to be held against their will for a short time if investigators believe they're likely to harm themselves.

About 90 minutes after that showdown, deputies were called to the other end of Pasco County, responding to a home on Royal Stewart Drive in New Port Richey.

Sheriff's investigators say a suicidal man inside was believed to have a high-powered rifle, a handgun, and a "cache" of ammunition.

As deputies arrived, they say the man bolted from the first house and ran to the next-door neighbor's home, pushing through an opening in a six-foot wooden fence along the way.

The people in that second house got out safely, and deputies went in to try to subdue the armed man.

Sheriff Chris Nocco said the man opened fire on a deputy inside the house. That deputy returned fire. No one was hit during the exchange.

Nocco said another deputy was then able to grab the man and bring him to the ground. He was taken into custody.

The names of the two armed men have not been released. The Pasco County Sheriff's Office major crimes unit and the State Attorney's Office are investigating both shooting incidents to determine whether they were legal and justified.

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