Tampa man dies after crime spree

Posted at 11:23 PM, Dec 30, 2016

Authorities said a man committed a string of crimes at a busy shopping plaza, Wednesday afternoon, before he died at a hospital the next day.

According to Pasco County Sheriff's Public Information Officer Kevin Doll, people started calling 911 around 2:40 p.m. Wednesday about a reckless driver on State Road 54 in Land O' Lakes. He was identified as John Sellinger.

After Sellinger drove recklessly on the road, he tried to commit a carjacking as well as smashed the window of another car trying to steal it and a 70-year-old man's motorcycle, according to Doll.

"The victim pulled a gun on the suspect and then the suspect tried to choke the 70-year-old man, who almost lost consciousness had it not been for several bystanders who helped this old man," Doll said.

According to authorities, those same bystanders tried to stop the suspect. A deputy arrived, tried to use a taser on him, but it did not work.

"When deputies arrive to a situation like this, they don't know what's going on. They can only see what is going on with the suspect. He's not following orders. He's acting irrationally," Doll said.

Doll said Sellinger then ran across US 41. At that point, more deputies arrived. Deputies tried to pepper spray him and used a taser again. But Sellinger continued acting violently and would not listen to commands.

"What we know is they have to take this suspect into custody (and) get him so he can't hurt anybody and himself," Doll said.

Doll said deputies requested medical help. Moments before crews arrived Sellinger "went into distress"; they used an AED on him. Sellinger was taken to the hospital where he died the next day.

"This was a deadly force situation. They could have used possibly deadly force on the suspect. They did not however. They only used their tasers on him and pepper spray," Doll said.

Doll said their deputies are waiting on the results of autopsy and toxicology reports for more information.

"The deputies they saw someone who was acting irrationally who attacked citizens. They had to take this person into custody. Had he not died, he would have been facing some serious charges," Doll said.

Those charges would have been attempted homicide, battery on a law enforcement officer, an attempted carjacking charge, two attempted auto theft charges, and resisting arrest with violence.

According to Doll, deputies later learned a family member contacted the Tampa Police Department, Wednesday around 1:15 p.m., to report Sellinger as a missing endangered adult.

According to authorities, Sellinger may have been involved in several hit and run cases in Hillsborough County.

ABC Action News learned Sellinger and his wife are both Veterans and last year the Gramatica Family Foundation donated a home to Sellinger's wife.