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Thursday, Oct 19, 2017
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Hernando deputies shoot, wound, bank robbery suspect after chase

BROOKSVILLE — Deputies shot and wounded a bank robbery suspect after a chase through the city involving more than 30 law enforcement vehicles, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies say the man, whom they would not identify, arrived at Capital City Bank, 14001 Cortez Blvd. in Spring Hill, about 11 a.m. Friday in a white Dodge Ram with a female hostage in the front seat. He went into the bank and took an undisclosed amount of money before driving away, according to the agency, which declined to say where the hostage was during the robbery.

Sheriff Al Nienhuis said during a 1 p.m. news conference that the pursuit began just after the robbery, when deputies saw the truck near Bayfront Health Brooksville on State Road 50 and followed it east toward downtown Brooksville.

Multiple spike strips were deployed to stop the truck along Fort Dade Avenue, where the Sheriff's Office said the man rammed the truck into "two or three" deputies' cars.

With more than 30 law enforcement vehicles following through clouds of white exhaust, the truck swerved right onto Ponce de Leon Boulevard. Sirens blared from all directions, undercover cars appearing at the mouths of smaller side roads as the truck continued south onto Broad Street.

Nienhuis said the man stopped the truck just north of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and got out, but would not say what happened between then and the shooting, or what prompted deputies to open fire.

"The person came out of the vehicle, multiple deputies were involved and shots were fired," Nienhuis said in the news conference. "Several deputies fired their weapons. The suspect was hit."

The sheriff said he is "not at liberty to say" whether the man was armed and that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Florida Highway Patrol are investigating. Nienhuis would not say how many deputies were involved in the shooting nor how many shots were fired, but said no deputies were harmed and each has been placed on administrative leave.

The investigation was ongoing late Friday afternoon. Orange and black markers lined the blocked roadway as forensic teams worked and took photographs. An undercover Sheriff's Office sport utility vehicle sitting near the truck could be seen with a broken driver's side window and bullet holes in its windshield and driver's side door.

Deputies say the hostage, whose name and age the Sheriff's Office declined to give, was unharmed. The man was transported to a local hospital that the Sheriff's Office declined to name for treatment of injuries the agency would not disclose.

Management at the bank declined to comment.

The sheriff said it could be days before more information, including the man's name, is released.

"It was a very fluid thing and a very tense situation," he said. "Suffice it to say it was a very, very dangerous situation right at the conclusion."

Contact Megan Reeves at mreeves@tampabay.com. Follow @mareevs.

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