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2 dead, hostage safe in Wimauma standoff, sheriff says

SWAT scene Wimauma HCSO.png
SWAT scene Wimauma.png
Posted at 5:38 AM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 15:59:35-04

WIMAUMA, Fla.  — Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said two people are dead after a multi-hour standoff with a barricaded man in a shed on the 5600 block of Center Street in Wimauma.

HCSO said the armed man, identified as Juan Sarmiento, 42, was shot by authorities and another person was found dead at the scene. A hostage who was held by Sarmiento was rescued by authorities.

According to Sheriff Chronister, everything began early Tuesday morning when a man was asked to come to the area by Sarmiento to dispose of some trash. When the person got to the scene, they discovered it was a body in a car.

At that point, Chronister said the individual made up an excuse to leave and called the sheriff's department.

Sheriff Chronister provides update on Wimauma barricade situation

Two deputies responded to the address and found the dead body in the car. Chronister said both deputies heard a man and woman yelling profanities in a shed about two to three feet from the body.

The deputies tried to talk to the people inside, but Chronister said they were met with profanities and the man, Sarmiento, said he had a hostage. The Sheriff's Office said one of the deputies grabbed a crowbar to try to get inside to help the hostage and that's when Sarmiento said he had a gun.

SWAT and negotiators were sent to the scene where they were able to see in a small window that Sarmiento was waving a gun in a threatening manner in the shed, Chronister said.

After nearly 10 hours of negotiations, Chronister said Sarmiento became more "hostile" saying, "I promise I will die here." According to Chronister, Sarmiento called the hostage his insurance policy and said things would go "boom."

Near the end of the negotiations, a SWAT officer saw an opportunity and shot Sarmiento in the "upper torso." Chronister said SWAT members immediately pulled the hostage out and began emergency care for Sarmiento.

Chronister said he was told just before an 11 a.m. press update that Sarmiento died at South Bay Hospital from his injuries.

The Sheriff's Office said it would not immediately release the name of the deputy who fired the shot because they work undercover.

The identity of the hostage and the person found dead in the car have not been released.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement took over the investigation and was conducting interviews at the scene as of late Wednesday morning.