Depuyt Shoots Man Who Pointed Pellet Gun At Him, Officials Say
Published: March 26, 2009
Updated: 47 min. ago
A Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy shot a man this evening after the man pointed a gun at him, sheriff's officials said.
The shooting happened along Mango Road, near Mango Elementary School.
According to the sheriff's office, a deputy responded to that area at about 6:40 p.m. after someone called the sheriff's office to report a man was walking in the area carrying a rifle with a scope.
When Deputy Ricco Palermo confronted the man and asked him to put the gun down, the man instead turned and pointed what appeared to be an "assault-type'' rifle at him, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Jose Docobo.
Palermo fired once, hitting the man in the abdomen, Docobo said. Palermo was not injured.
The sheriff's office identified the man as Gilbert Velez, 56, of 7115 Dellwood Drive. He was taken by medical helicopter to Tampa General Hospital, where he is listed in critical condition.
Docobo said the rifle turned out to be a pellet gun. "Even at relatively close distance, it looks real,'' he said.
The incident happened between Mango Elementary and a shopping center. Mango Road is shut down in both directions, and evidence technicians continue to work the scene.
Neighbors who stopped by the scene after the shooting said Velez has been known to stay at a nearby homeless camp. Docobo said investigators have not confirmed that.
Palermo, 36, is a 10-year veteran of the sheriff's office. He will be placed on administrative leave with pay pending review, which is standard procedure in such cases.
A backup deputy responding to the scene was involved in a traffic accident and was taken to a local hospital. Her injuries do not appear to be serious, Docobo said.