CCSO pursuit leads to an officer shooting incident
In the early morning hours of Thursday, February 15, 2018, Citrus County Sheriff’s Office attempted a traffic stop near Periwinkle Lane in Homosassa when the driver refused to stop his car. William Bryant, 21, of Homosassa, then led CCSO Deputy Mike Laborda on a chase that ended in the Stone Gate community, off of Stonebrook Drive, near Homosassa Trail.
Heather Yates, CCSO Community Relations Director, told the Standard that the traffic stop was initiated because of faulty tail lights.
According to information from the CCSO Facebook page, Bryant hit the deputy’s car, and at some point, also attempted to hit Laborda with his car. The deputy discharged his weapon, striking Bryant. The post also stated that the deputy was not injured in the altercation, however, Bryant was taken to Bayonet Point for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. Pictures taken at the scene show property damage, presumably caused by Bryant during the pursuit. Mailboxes and street signs were damaged, along with the deputy’s vehicle; although at press time, it is unclear how much damage occurred to Laborda’s vehicle. It is also unclear how many shots were fired.
Suspect has criminal history and is facing attempted murder, other charges
Bryant has a criminal history in Citrus County that dates back to 2015, when he was arrested and charged twice with Grand Theft over $300, Less than $20,000, 3rd-degree felonies. A conviction in 2016 placed Bryant on probation, however, on March 21, 2017, he was sentenced to serve 11 months and 29 days in the Citrus County Jail after violating those terms.
Per CCSO policy on deputy-involved shootings, Laborda has been placed on paid administrative leave. Florida Department of Law Enforcement is actively investigating the shooting, a standard procedure that takes place after any officer shooting incident. FDLE agents were on scene within hours.
CCSO posted the following statement on Facebook after the incident: “We are very thankful that our officer is uninjured and that no one else was hurt in this extremely dangerous situation,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “We can always count on FDLE to do a thorough investigation whenever these extremely dangerous and unfortunate incidents occur. These things take time, so we will not be releasing any further information until their investigation is concluded.”
Bryant was discharged from Bayonet Point Friday afternoon after treatment for his injuries. Immediately after his medical discharge, he was arrested by Pasco County Sheriff’s deputies on a warrant issued by Citrus County. The warrant charges Bryant with Attempted Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer and Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding. In their latest Facebook update, CCSO stated that more charges are pending in this case.
Recent Homosassa attempted break-in unrelated
Some Citrus County residents have posted on social media that a similarly-timed attempted break-in of a Homosassa residence was somehow related to this pursuit.
But according to Yates, the attempted break-in was a separate, unrelated incident.
Written and investigated by Dawn Jaglowski, Investigative Reporter, edited by Lou Newman, Publisher
Updated 2/17/2018 at 8:48 PM by Lou Newman. Tag lights were changed to tail lights.