Deputies escort David Saunders after he allegedly shot a man during a fight behind Whole Foods.
Tampa, Florida- David Saunders is best known for his love of football, both as a former player for the Tampa Bay Storm and as a youth football coach at Keystone Field for the Citrus Park Bills.
"In my opinion he's a great guy," said parent and volunteer league president Kristi Hubbell. "He's good with our youth and we've never had an issue with him at all."
But Tuesday morning Saunders found himself at the center of a violent clash totally unrelated to football. Sherriff's investigators say the 37-year-old fitness instructor was approached by the boyfriend of one of his female fitness clients in the parking lot behind the North Dale Whole Foods store, and, according to witnesses, attacked with an 8-inch kitchen knife following a verbal argument.
STORY: Supermarket shooting- 1 dead behind Whole Foods
"This guy came here with a knife and according to witnesses was the primary aggressor. He engaged in the physical confrontation," said Hillsborough County Sheriff's Spokesman Larry McKinnon.
Deputies say at some point, Saunders- a concealed permit holder- pulled out a gun and shot 31-year-old Deshaun Gregory in the head. By the time deputies arrived Gregory was dead.
"We have a fairly good idea of what happened out here today, but what we really want to start digging into is what was the history was between these two men and this woman prior to this event occurring that allowed this thing to boil over," said McKinnon.
No one came to the door at Saunder's North Dale home, but neighbors describe him as a friendly, family man who they believe acted in self-defense.
"It's sad that anyone has to lose their life," said Cyndi Schmidt who lives across the street. "It's sad that other person was in that mind-state that they would be so angered to attack David."
We also stopped by the apartment of Deshaun Gregory, where no one was home. Neighbors say he was a quiet man who lived with his family.
Saunders was released Tuesday afternoon. Next, it will be up to the state attorney's office to review the case to determine if any changes will be filed.
Beau Zimmer, 10 News