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Undercover Hillsborough County deputy involved in shooting outside Westfield Brandon

Posted at 5:53 PM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-27 16:31:50-05

BRANDON, Fla. — An undercover Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office deputy was involved in a shooting late Monday afternoon.

During a press conference, Chief Deputy Donna Lusczynski said one of their undercover deputies was in the process of buying guns, around 4 p.m., from two suspects outside Westfield Brandon when the suspects pointed their guns at him and attempted to rob him.


The suspects, per Lusczynski, left the scene after other deputies who were watching the transaction moved in to help protect the undercover deputy. As they were leaving, and deputies were trying to arrest them, the suspects fired at least five shots toward deputies.

"Fortunately and most importantly, none of our detectives or citizens were hurt. One subject was pursued and apprehended. The other subject fled and we're still attempting to locate him," said Lusczynski.

One suspect, identified as 19-year-old Jordan Gracia, who has 26 felony charges and 14 misdemeanors, was caught in the parking lot and arrested.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office announced the second suspect, 19-year-old Jaycob Riley, was caught late Wednesday night.

Lusczynski said Westfield Brandon closed early and deputies searched it to ensure the other suspect was not inside.

"As you know we've seen an increase in violent crime, particularly crimes involving firearms over the last year. And one way to combat that is to get those firearms off the street," said Lusczynski. "And one way we do that is through purchasing these firearms from individuals who are selling them to prevent them from getting into the hands of someone who can do more harm. So today we were here conducting a transaction to purchase firearms."

No deputies nor citizens were hurt during the incident, per Lusczynski. She added that no deputies fired their guns at the suspects.

Gracia is charged with armed robbery, felon in possession of a firearm, and dealing in stolen property.

Riley is charged with five counts of first-degree attempted murder, premeditated discharge of a firearm on law enforcement, robbery with a firearm, felon in possession of a firearm, and shooting at, within, or into an occupied vehicle.

On Thursday, HCSO said two additional men were facing charges related to the shooting outside Westfield Brandon.

"Through the course of the investigation, detectives reviewed countless hours of surveillance footage. They learned that Gian Cantillo, 19, who works at the Red Robin restaurant located at the mall, assisted Riley in obtaining new clothing and cutting his dreadlocks in order to leave the mall unrecognizable," HCSO said in a press release. "In addition, Cantillo later helped Riley hide from law enforcement by allowing him to stay at his residence."

HCSO added that "Eric Paul, 31, who later spoke with Riley over the phone, attempted to arrange for his girlfriend to drive Riley out of Hillsborough County in an effort to evade arrest."

Paul, per HCSO, is "an inmate at the Orlando Bridge Corrections Facility on a work-release program"

Cantillo and Paul face a charge of accessory after the fact for assisting Riley.

“Despite going to great lengths to avoid arrest, these men were not able to outsmart our detectives,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “We not only were able to take dangerous individuals into custody but also take firearms out of the hands of criminals. While undercover operations come with risks, the greater reward, and the reason why we conduct them, is knowing that criminals will not be able to use these weapons again to victimize our community.”