An off-duty Pasco County detention deputy fatally shot a suspect Friday who tried to choke him out during a violent fight on U.S. 41, according to law enforcement.
Ronald Michael Robbibaro, 30, the suspect, died at the scene near U.S. 41 north of Bowman Road, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
The off-duty deputy’s encounter with Robbibaro occurred after a series of incidents early Friday morning that deputies said included Robbibaro stealing a Coca-Cola delivery truck and hitting the personal vehicles of the deputies.
“I cringe with fear that it could have been somebody going to work, driving with their kids in the car and this person has a couple ton weapon in their hands, and they are trying to ram people off the road and back over vehicles,” Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said.
Law enforcement received a call about 4 a.m. from a woman who said a vehicle was following her. Hernando County deputies talked with Robbibaro, but he denied following her. Without any warrants to arrest him, deputies let him go.
Shortly after, the same vehicle the woman reported following her was involved in a crash. Deputies said Robbibaro was the driver of that vehicle.
Robbibaro left the crash and ran toward a nearby Coca-Cola plant, deputies said, where he stole an unlocked delivery truck, smashing through a gate as he left.
An off-duty deputy, Sgt. Paul Van Steen, 51, saw Robbibaro turn recklessly onto U.S. 41.
While Van Steen was following the Coca-Cola truck, Robbibaro stopped in the middle of the road, deputies said. Robbibaro reversed the truck, hitting the hood of the deputy's personal vehicle.
Robbibaro then fled southbound on U.S. 41.
Another off-duty detention deputy was also traveling on the same road in his personal truck, which deputies said Robbibaro also slammed with the delivery truck.
The deputy, Jeffrey Pyle, 33, in full uniform at the time, and Robbibaro got out of their vehicles. Deputies said Robbibaro charged at the deputy.
Robbibaro attacked Pyle and a violent fight ensued, according to law enforcement.
Pyle said his life was in danger and that Robbibaro tried to choke him out while Pyle was on the phone with 911.
The deputy fired two rounds into Robbibaro.
Robbibaro died at the scene and Pyle was taken to the hospital.