Deputies open fire on armed suspect

Fleeing suspect was shot multiple times

LARGO, Fla. - A man armed with an assault rifle who was fleeing from deputies was shot multiple times, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.  

Anthony Gonzalez, 27, was pulled over by deputies along 119th St. N. near Ulmerton Rd.  With his mother behind the wheel, Gonzalez fled from the passenger side of the car and was climbing a fence when he was engaged by the deputies.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said his deputies feared for the safety of themselves and those in the neighborhood after seeing Gonzalez and his weapon.  One opened fire with 45-calibre bullets from his sidearm, while the other shot Gonzalez with an automatic rifle.  Gualtieri said Gonzalez was seriously wounded.  He was taken to the hospital for surgery.

Investigators responded to the subdivision along 119th St. N between Ulmerton Rd. and Walsingham Rd. after residents complained about a man in the area armed with a high-powered rifle.  They encountered the suspect's car about 8:30 p.m. Friday, and soon after, gunshots erupted.

Gonzalez is a suspect in drug-related crimes, and Gualtieri said he was in the area searching for people who "ripped him off" of drugs and money.  That was the reason he was carrying an assault rifle, Gualtieri said.

The deputies involved in the shooting will be placed on leave, as is standard procedure after a deputy involved shooting.

Gonzalez had been involved in a violent encounter within the last week, when he was stabbed, according to Gualtieri.  

Law enforcement closed a portion of 119th N. to traffic, preventing some residents from getting to their homes while investigators gathered evidence from the shooting scene.  

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