BRANDON, Fla. — Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said the active shooter at a Brandon Car wash fired off 72 rounds on Thursday afternoon. Body camera released by the department shows the bravery of deputies running for cover and engaging the active shooter.
The mayhem took place in the middle of the day, around 1 p.m., as innocent bystanders went about their daily lives.
"While we are processing yesterday's scene, we learned this individual fired his firearm 72 times; that's 72 opportunities to kill or seriously injury someone in our community," Chronister said.
Chronister said the shooter, identified as Daniel Lighty, 35, may have been suffering some kind of mental break.
"He made no comments afterward, only stuck to his intentions that he was upset by the treatment for his mental health crisis that he received at a local hospital," Chronister said.
After the exchange of gunfire between deputies and Lighty, he went back to his car and called 911. Crisis negotiators were able to talk to him and surrender peacefully.
ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska talked with Joshua Kwasnicki, the Director of Organizational Development at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. His team trains their staff to handle mental health and offer psychological first aid.
"We think about what the sheriff said, saying that this shooter fired 72 rounds. How do you talk that person down?" Paluska asked.
"Yeah, I mean, that's the thing, there are certain people out there that have the skills to do that, to talk people down," Kwasnicki said. "It's making sure that we also think about the struggles that this person has had that may have led up to something like this. And, think about, well, what could we do in the mental health world and as a society? What can we do to help such individuals like these to ensure that they don't get to this level, that they are connected with the right resources, that they do have a positive experience, and that they get well and get the support that they need."
In 2020, following the death of George Floyd, protesters took the streets across the country to ask for reforms and changes to policing. One area that law enforcement has focused its efforts in mental health training.
In May, Paluska profiled a brand new operated by the St. Petersburg Police Department for a Full Circle special report. The Community Assistance and Life Liaison (CALL) sends mental health professionals to non-violent 911 calls instead of police. Chief Anthony Holloway told the council back in May that the pilot program's launch was a success.
Chronister says deputies in Hillsborough County also now receive de-escalation training.
"The advanced 40 hours of mental health training that we provide our deputies most certainly played a role yesterday," Chronister said. "They are highly trained in deescalating an individual with that new training. It now comes with PTSD; it comes with some kind of drug-induced mental health crisis. So they are now familiar with identifying victims that may be suffering from those types of mental health crises. It's no doubt it's because of their training is why we had a peaceful resolution yesterday."
Crisis Center of Tampa Bay urges anyone suffering a mental break or knows someone in need to call 211, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"Crisis intervention, it does work," Kwasnicki said. "It just takes again that that special kind of connection and relationship and training so that people know, the conversation, the questions, and the words to use. So it doesn't re-trigger anybody but actually gets the more positive outcome."