Deputy charged with attempted manslaughter

Posted at 12:04 PM, Jan 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-29 23:16:34-05
A Pinellas County Sheriff's Office deputy has been arrested and charged with attempted manslaughter.
The charge stems from a shooting on December 30 in Madeira Beach involving Deputy Timothy Virden and Dylan Tompkins-Holmes.
Virden turned himself in Friday to the Pinellas County Jail, where he was booked and released on bond.  
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Virden was also terminated.
"He fabricated facts.  He made the situation worse, he lied," Gualtieri said.  Gualtieri said 48 hours after the initital shooting Virden's story did not add up.  The key point Gualtieri made was that there was no way Tompkins-Holmes, with his hands cuffed behind his back and drunk, could've gotten Virden's gun out of the deputies holster as Virden claimed happened that morning.
"The words that came out of deputy Virden's mouth I meant to shoot the man and it wasn't an accident and I intentionally pulled that trigger," Gualtieri said.  "Nothing is more important than the truth.  Making a mistake is human.  Lying about it and making up facts that couldn't happen is wrong and will not stand."
Gaultieri said several investigations into the Dec. 30 incident ruled the shooting was not justified under department policy and violated state law.
"This is especially hard, because I believe Virden is a good man," he said.
Virden's lawyer Joseph M Ciarciaglino said we shouldn't believe everything the sheriff told us.
"That idea that just because you are handcuffed behind your back somehow is safety, is not correct, it depends on the person and how much they want to try and escape or injure the officer," Ciarciaglino said.  "It is a presumption of innocence that don't believe everything you read in the newspapers or see on TV because it is only a partial."
According to original accounts, the incident started around 3 a.m. with a traffic stop near 129th Avenue West at Village Boulevard in John's Pass Village.
During the traffic stop, Deputy Timothy Virden suspected the female driver of DUI, and began to investigate.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said that during that traffic stop, passenger Dylan Tompkins-Holmes interfered with the investigation. Gualtieri said the man was arguing with the deputy and imploring the woman not to cooperate. At one point, he jumped into the driver's seat.
Action News reported Deputy Virden arrested Tompkins-Holmes, handcuffed him, and placed him in the back of the patrol vehicle, a Chevy Tahoe.
Inside the vehicle, the man's pants fell down, and he fell to the floor. Tompkins-Holmes was loudly complaining and asked for help. Deputy Virden said he helped him out of the SUV to pull up his pants, and Tompkins-Holmes -- still handcuffed -- grabbed for the deputy's gun.
After a short struggle, Deputy Virden got control of the gun and shot Tompkins-Holmes twice. One shot hit the man in the wrist and thigh. Another shot struck him in the abdomen.
Gaultieiri said that Deputy Virden's account of the incident weren't true. Tompkins-Holmes never touched Virden's gun.
During the news conference a video of the incident was shown with audio.
"There is no struggle.  There is no verbalization that Dylan was reaching for a gun."
Verdin was recorded saying, "Oh, shit!" at the end of the video.
Tompkins-Holmes had a .28 BAC.
Gaultieiri said he is in talks with Tompkins-Holmes' lawyers to pay for his medical expenses.