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Deputy fires at fleeing suspect

The officer fired at the man, said to have entered a Turtle Lakes home through a bedroom window, but didn't strike or injure him.


© St. Petersburg Times, published June 24, 2000

LAND O'LAKES -- A deputy shot at a Land O'Lakes man Friday morning after he refused to put down a knife that witnesses said he brandished while threatening to kill and rape a 14-year-old girl, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office reported.

Wyatt Eugene Blevins, 19, fell to the ground screaming after Deputy Robert Miller fired a single round from his service revolver, reports said. The bullet did not strike Blevins, and he was not injured, sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said.

"He was probably just scared," Doll said. "It could have turned out a lot worse."

Deputies got the call just before 7 a.m. that a man armed with a knife and possibly a handgun had broken into a house in the Turtle Lakes subdivision, reports said.

Later Friday, two 14-year-old girls and a woman told detectives that a mumbling Blevins had entered their home through a bedroom window and threatened to kill them with a lock-blade knife, according to reports. One of the girls also said Blevins, wielding the knife, pulled down his pants and demanded that she perform a sex act on him.

When deputies arrived, the two girls and the woman were standing in the driveway, pointing to the side of the house at Blevins, reports said.

"What actually happened at the residence is still in dispute," Doll said.

Deputies drew their guns and ordered Blevins, who was yelling obscenities, to put his hands up. Instead, reports said, Blevins reached into his pants pocket and took off running. Miller, thinking Blevins was about to pull out a gun, squeezed off a single round, according to reports.

Charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, Blevins, 2148 Tioga Drive, was booked into the county jail in Land O'Lakes, where he was held late Friday on $60,000 bail.

Doll said detectives still were investigating the case to determine whether Blevins, an unemployed laborer, also should be charged with home invasion robbery, armed burglary and lewd and lascivious behavior in the presence of a minor.

The Sheriff's Office did not release the names of the victims. The Times is withholding the victims' address to protect their identity.

The Sheriff's Office, as a matter of routine, is conducting an internal investigation into Miller's decision to fire at Blevins, Doll said. But Doll said it appeared the shooting was justified.

"He believed his life was in danger and he took appropriate action," Doll said.

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