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Former Pasco firefighter arrested for pretending to be a firefighter while soliciting money from drivers

Posted at 6:34 PM, Dec 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-16 18:34:53-05

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — A Pasco County man is in big trouble for allegedly impersonating a firefighter to solicit money from drivers.

The shocker, he used to be a Pasco County firefighter.

According to the sheriff's report, 45-year-old Ryan Cushings-Gomez was arrested Sunday, after someone spotted him at the Grand Cypress Blvd. and State Road 56 intersection. They say he was wearing a Pasco County Firefighter t-shirt, a cap and holding a boot to collect money.

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"What a terrible thing to do. Take Advantage of people at this time of year," said Elwana O'neal.

Deputies believe the gear Cushings-Gomez was wearing is from his time as a firefighter. According to the county, he was fired a while ago. They cannot release the details of his firing because it's a "personnel issue."

"I'm really glad he got caught," said driver Jorge Gonzalez.

The sheriff's office doesn't know how long he was at the intersection, or how many times he's done that, but they do say he was collecting the money for himself. Investigators are not releasing the amount of cash he collected.

Several of the drivers we spoke to Monday afternoon said they do not "feel sorry" for Cushings-Gomez.

"He needs to go to jail to pay for that," said Gonzalez.