Video captures shootout between cops, mentally ill man armed with AR-15
The suspect shot someone, shot at deputies and ultimately turned the gun on himself
By Jessica De Leon
The Bradenton Herald
PORT RICHEY, Fla. — The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office has released body camera footage from last Thursday’s deputy-involved fatal shooting in which the suspect shot someone, shot at deputies and ultimately turned the gun on himself.
At about 2:50 p.m. Thursday, the sheriff’s office received a call from Brian Disario’s mother reporting that he had shot former neighbor David Armstrong dead in their home’s garage and was still shooting in the road. Deputies responded to the home on Constance Drive in the Gulf Highlands neighborhood in Port Richey, and Desario opened fire on them.
Armstrong had been visiting Thursday at the family’s home, according to Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco, and an enraged Disario thought that Armstrong was involved with his girlfriend, which the sheriff’s office says is untrue.
Nearby Gulf Highlands Elementary was placed on lockdown, and students reportedly could hear the gunfire.
Body camera footage shows how the first two deputies who arrived on scene, Nick Carmack and Michael Sudler, exchanged fire with Disario with little cover.
Disario had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, his mother told deputies. He was also 6-feet, 8 inches tall and weighed 300 pounds.
“He was a big guy,” Nocco said during a press conference Monday.
The sheriff said the department posted the video to be transparent and show what officers face.
“Mike and Nick, they are heroes,” Nocco said. “As law enforcement officers, we choose a career that at any moment we are willing to give up our lives to protect somebody else. What they do out there is nothing shy of heroism.”
The suspect previously owned a .22-caliber long gun, which he had sold, and still owned an AR-15 used in Thursday’s shooting, according Nocco. The sheriff’s office is working with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to determine if the suspect legally purchased the guns.
Disario, originally from New Jersey, had a criminal history that included arrests for disorderly conduct, improper behavior, aggravated assault, simple assault, resisting arrest, eluding law enforcement and using threats. He moved to Pasco County two years ago. In the past year, he had stopped seeking treatment and taking medication for his mental illness, the sheriff said.
“You talk about the issues that affect law enforcement that are health care issues: addiction and mental health. They are health care issues,” Nocco said. “But unfortunately, law enforcement, we always get called in because we are the ones that have to solve the problems. Add so, if they were solved on the front end we wouldn’t have to worry about these types of situations.”
Nocco said that until the country puts resources into mental illness and addiction, shootings like Thursdays will continue to be seen.
©2017 The Bradenton Herald (Bradenton, Fla.)
- Use of Force