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In rare event, the Sheriff assists in arrest

By TAMARA LUSH, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 22, 2003

TAMPA -- An agitated man who deputies say tried to break through security at Hillsborough Sheriff's headquarters Friday morning was cuffed by none other than the county's top cop.

Sheriff Cal Henderson drove into the agency's Ybor City parking lot at about 9:15 a.m. after attending a morning meeting at the county building. He noticed two deputies in a scuffle with a man.

Henderson, who was dressed in a tie and crisp white shirt, jumped out of his car and helped restrain the man, Eddie Suazo, 21, of Altamonte Springs.

Henderson, 59, downplayed the event.

"They could have done it without me," he said. "I just got out and helped cuff him."

Suazo was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, trespass after warning and two counts of resisting arrest without violence. He is being held at the county jail without bond.

Deputies said Suazo drove his Chevrolet sedan up to the vehicle checkpoint at the sheriff's headquarters and became angry when he was told to park in the visitors lot.

For the past several weeks, deputies have eliminated much of the visitor parking close to the building as part of homeland security efforts.

Suazo drove past the deputies and parked illegally in the lot, deputies said. He then got out of his car and began yelling at one deputy. Two other deputies arrived, and Suazo ran toward the building's entrance, according to a sheriff's office report.

Deputies said that just as Suazo tried to bite one deputy on the arm, Henderson drove up.

After Suazo was arrested, deputies said, they found drug paraphernalia in his car.

Henderson said the man was "really out of his head."

Although the sheriff couldn't remember the last time he arrested a suspect, he is no stranger to a street brawl.

As an undercover vice squad major, Henderson led raids on motorcycle gangs and shady characters.

"I get involved if I'm there," Henderson said. "I don't stand around."

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