Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hillsborough Deputy Fatally Shot In Patrol Car

Suspect In Shooting Killed By SWAT Officers

BRANDON, Fla. -- A Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy was fatally shot in his patrol car early Wednesday by a man who then barricaded himself in a house and was killed by SWAT officers, authorities said. A witness reported she was driving alongside Sgt. Ron Harrison's car about 1 a.m. when she heard shots fired, Sheriff David Gee said. The woman said Harrison's car clipped her vehicle as it passed by with its lights on, then crossed the road and struck a tree.
Harrison, 55, was pronounced dead at Brandon Community Hospital, officials said. He was shot in the upper torso, the sheriff's office said. He is the third sheriff's deputy to be shot in Florida in the past 10 days and the second to die. "It's unclear if (the shooter) was in a vehicle or if he ambushed (the deputy) from the roadside," Gee said. "Right now, it appears to be very complicated how this occurred." Harrison had just finished a drunken driving checkpoint in this community east of Tampa. He turned his lights on after being shot, but did not notify radio dispatchers that he had been injured, Gee said. "He may have been trying to get himself to the hospital, unable to get on the radio," Gee said. "His wounds were extremely severe, the type of wounds that would have caused him to become quickly incapacitated."
At the same time, authorities received a call from another woman who said her boyfriend told her that he had been in a shooting with a police officer, and gave his address, Gee said.
Deputies who found the man barricaded in the house determined that he had been involved in Harrison's shooting, Gee said. He was later identified as Michael Allen Phillips, 24.
The man's mother and a small child were allowed to leave the house, the sheriff's office said. It was not immediately known if the child was related to Phillips.
The man fired from a window twice during the standoff, hitting a deputy's vehicle and another vehicle outside the house, the sheriff's office said. SWAT members shot him through the window.
Deputies Robert Carr, 31, and Shawn Dugan, 29, were placed on administrative leave with pay following the shooting.
Harrison, a father of four, would have celebrated his 21st anniversary with the sheriff's office Friday, Gee said. His death is the county's first fatal deputy shooting since 1981, the sheriff said.
About 200 miles away, Broward County sheriff's Sgt. Chris Reyka, 51, was fatally shot Friday while looking for stolen vehicles at a drug store in Pompano Beach. The suspect, who got out of a white car and fired at least five shots at the deputy, is still being sought.
On Aug. 6, a motorcyclist shot off-duty Broward County deputy Maury Hernandez after being pulled over in a traffic stop. The suspect was arrested moments later at a nearby condominium. Hernandez, 28, remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Monday, August 13, 2007

South Florida Grieves As Another Deputy Shot

Deputy Hernadez's family prays for a miracle
The community offers prayers and support for the family of a deputy shot during a traffic stop.

Fellow law officers, clergy, relatives and strangers have reached out to comfort the family of a wounded Broward sheriff's deputy, and to pray for his survival.
No change in Deputy Maury Hernandez's condition was reported Thursday as he lay breathing on a ventilator at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood. Hernandez, 28, was shot in the head during a traffic stop on Monday.
''We just continue to reach out for God to rescue him from this,'' said Ralph Rodriguez, a pastor at New Testament Baptist Church, who has been with the family daily at the hospital, along with BSO's chaplain, Rick Braswell.
''Miracles do occur, and it's a matter of God's people reaching out and praying,'' Rodriguez said.
Hernandez's wife, Jody, and his parents, Mauricio and Rosa Hernandez, have sat at his bedside around the clock, praying.
Hundreds of law officers from all over South Florida have visited the hospital since Monday when Hernandez was shot after pulling over a motorcyclist for running red lights.
David Maldonado, 23, was arrested soon after and is being held without bond in the Broward County Jail on attempted first-degree murder charges and violation of probation for driving with a suspended license.
Officers from the Hallandale Beach Police Department, where Hernandez's younger brother Josue started work last week, have been going to the hospital before and after their shifts. Broward's Police Benevolent Association is delivering food to the hospital nightly.
''It's a family,'' said Hallandale Beach Police Chief Thomas Magill. ``We support each other, and when something tragic like this happens, it brings to light how tough their job really is.''

Services for BSO Sgt. Chris Reyka

VISITATIONTuesday, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m., Forest Lawn North Funeral Home, 200 W. Copans Road, Pompano Beach.
Wednesday at noon at the BankAtlantic Center, One Panther Parkway, Sunrise.
Sgt. Reyka will be laid to rest after the service at South Florida V.A. National Cemetery, 6501 S. State Road 7, west of Lake Worth.In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Sheriff's Foundation of Broward County, c/o Sgt. Christopher Reyka Memorial, 2601 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Dozens Missing After Bridge Collapse

MINNEAPOLIS -Divers searched the Mississippi River on Thursday for more bodies entombed in cars trapped beneath the twisted steel and concrete slabs of a collapsed bridge. As many as 30 people were missing as the effort shifted from rescue to recovery...Click on title for link.
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