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Hillsborough sheriff: Deputies shoot man reaching for gun during attempted arrest

The man, who the deputies were searching for on a warrant, is now in critical condition at the hospital.

DOVER, Fla. — A man is in critical condition after being shot by deputies who say he was reaching for a firearm during an attempted arrest, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

In a news conference Monday afternoon, Sheriff Chad Chronister said the person shot was originally a wanted man.

It started back on April 20 when 35-year-old Dewayne Davis got into a verbal argument with a relative about who was entitled to a certain amount of money for work they did, the sheriff explained.

The argument led to Davis reportedly shooting his relative in the leg.

A few weeks later, two deputies from HCSO were walking around the community as part of the "Walk It Like You Talk It" community outreach program when they were informed of the wanted man in the area, according to Chronister.

Once they were in the area and closed in search, the deputies approached Davis' girlfriend, who reportedly told them "[Davis may be in [the shed], he may not be in there." This led deputies to have reasonable suspicion and they started to knock on the shed door.

The two deputies, one being a K-9 deputy, started to call out to the man, telling him to surrender before they forced entry, the sheriff explained. After not receiving a response, they reportedly cut the lock and opened the door, but still didn't immediately make entry.

Eventually, the K-9 on the scene was able to walk into the shed in the area where clothes and blankets were stacked and locate where the man was hiding, Chronister said. While attempting to pull the blanket off, that's when the situation escalated.

Chronister said Davis abruptly sat up and was pointing a gun at the two deputies. 

"The two deputies were more than in fear for their lives, more than justified to discharge their firearms at this point," he explained. "But they choose not to, they show great restraint and decide to continue to try this brief negotiation with this [person] imploring him to drop the firearm."

At some point, the man reportedly drops the firearm and stands up. But when the deputies started giving him arrest commands, Chronister says he "changed his mind" and went to reach for the gun on the floor.

This was when deputies made the decision to use their guns, according to the sheriff. The man was shot several times in the upper torso.

Davis was taken to Tampa General Hospital where he is now in critical condition, Chronister said.

His girlfriend, Dana Rice, was later arrested and charged with obstruction and resisting an officer without violence, the sheriff's office later reported.

Credit: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
Dana Rice

"Rice’s decision to lie to our deputies put them in a dangerous situation that could have cost them their lives," Chronister said. "As for Davis, he had no regard for anyone else’s safety."

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will complete the ongoing investigation.

Watch the full news conference below.

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