Saturday, June 15, 2024

Suspect dead after officer involved shooting in Safety Harbor

Deputies from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office were involved in an officer involved shooting shortly after 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 30, 2022.

The shooting took place at at the end of a vehicle pursuit on Philippe Parkway near Enterprise Road in the Safety Harbor area.

The adult male driver, reportedly driving a stolen vehicle, fled from deputies for an extended period of time. After multiple deployments of stop sticks by deputies and the Eagle overhead, the vehicle was stopped.

Shots were fired at the driver who was struck multiple times and died at the scene. No deputies were injured in the incident.

The deceased suspect has been identified as 43 year-old Robert Hubbard whose last known address was in Tampa. Hubbard, a suspect in multiple crimes over the previous 24 hours, including an armed carjacking, was shot by deputies after he pointed a gun at them.

Hubbard began a crime spree Wednesday afternoon in Hillsborough County when he stole a golf cart and then a car, both at gunpoint. Hours later in Pasco County, he was seen waving a gun around the parking lot of a Walmart and also tried to rob a woman at gunpoint outside an Outback in Trinity.

Officer safety bulletins had been issued for area law enforcement agencies, as Hubbard was considered armed and dangerous. He also had indicated he wanted to get into a shootout with law enforcement.

The stolen car, a 2012 Toyota Corolla, was spotted in northern Pinellas County this afternoon by Pinellas County sheriff’s deputies. Each time deputies tried to stop the car, it would drive away in a speeding and reckless manner.

The car was spotted in Clearwater and in Safety Harbor multiple times by deputies and Clearwater Police officers. At one point, deputies were able to successfully deploy stop sticks to at least partially disable the vehicle, but Hubbard refused to stop.

A sheriff’s deputy conducted a pit maneuver on the car as it headed northbound on Philippe Parkway, which pushed it off the road. Hubbard got out of the vehicle and immediately pointed a gun directly at the deputies, who, in fear for their lives, returned fire.

Hubbard, who has a lengthy criminal history spanning two decades, was pronounced dead at the scene.

All four deputies that discharged their weapon have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is routine in such a case.

In 2020, the Pinellas County Use of Deadly Force Investigative Task Force was created to ensure the investigations conducted into law enforcement use of deadly force are thorough, complete, and objective. The purpose of this task force is to make sure that officer-involved shootings in Pinellas County are investigated by an independent agency and not by the agency involved in the use of deadly force.

In this case, the Clearwater Police Department is joined by the St. Petersburg Police Department and Pinellas Park Police Department in the investigation.

The news conference from Clearwater Police Deputy Chief Michael Walek can be viewed below

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