Shootout with deputies leaves suspect dead
By DAN DeWITT
BROOKSVILLE -- Sheriff's deputies trying to serve a warrant at a motel Saturday wound up in a foot chase and shootout that left a suspect dead in the yard of a nearby mobile home.
Authorities say the fleeing man, identified by relatives as Nathaniel Benjamin Adkins, 22, fired first.
Two Hernando County deputies, Troy Groves and Bill Martinez, returned fire, shooting the suspect several times, said sheriff's spokesman Lt. Joe Paez.
Four deputies and one Brooksville police officer had originally approached the room at the Oaks Motel, just south of downtown Brooksville at 3:50 p.m., Paez said.
They had received a tip that Adkins, who was from Tampa, was staying in the hotel with his girlfriend, Amy Massey. He was wanted in Hillsborough County on a charge of aggravated battery with a firearm, Paez said.
In addition, Brooksville police Chief Ed Tincher said his department had received reports that Adkins had threatened people in Hernando County.
"He was trying to shoot people in South Brooksville," Tincher said. "That, and the Hillsborough County warrant, is what got our attention."
After deputies knocked at the door of the motel room, Adkins fled on foot into the adjacent Oaks Mobile Home Park, Paez said.
Several residents of the park watched the chase.
"They told him to stop and don't shoot, and that's when you heard all the guns go off," said Terie Warrington, a maintenance worker and resident of the park.
Warrington and other residents said they heard two shots that sounded as if they came from a small-caliber gun. Those were rapidly followed by a barrage of heavier caliber fire.
"You could tell it was two different kinds of gunfire," said Ronnie Jollimore, 36.
Park resident Ron Whitman said he saw Adkins climb the wooden privacy fence that surrounds the park. Whitman said he saw no gun in the man's hand at the time.
"He was using his hands to climb a fence. If he had a gun, he had it in his pocket," he said.
Sheriff Richard Nugent, who came to the scene of the shooting Saturday evening, said Adkins had fired first.
The final determination of facts in the shooting will be made by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which is conducting the criminal investigation. A separate investigation is planned by the Sheriff's Office to determine whether policies were followed.
Until the FDLE inquiry is complete, Martinez and Groves will be on administrative leave with pay, Paez said.
Nugent said he made an agreement with the state agency last year to investigate such incidents.
"We did it just in case we had something like this, so we'd have an independent agency investigating," Nugent said.
Nugent said he had also called a meeting with leaders of the Hernando County NAACP to talk about the shooting of Adkins, who was black. All the officers involved in the events Saturday are white.
"We think it's best to talk to folks to the best of our ability and tell them all we can," Nugent said.
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