Task force investigates deputy-involved shooting of armed man

Clearwater Police Chief Daniel Slaughter updates the media Tuesday morning on an investigation of a deputy-involved shooting being conducted by the Pinellas County Use of Deadly Force Task Force. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri can be seen in the background.

CLEARWATER — The Pinellas County Use of Deadly Force Task Force is investigating a shooting by four deputies, resulting in the death of an armed intruder that forced himself into a Clearwater home early Tuesday morning.

Clearwater Police Chief Daniel Slaughter provided preliminary details of the shooting during a press conference.

Deputies responded to the home in the 2100 block of Indigo Drive in unincorporated Clearwater about 3:38 a.m. after a woman called to report that her former boyfriend was at the front door armed with a gun. Police say she told the 911 operator she was afraid that she and her current boyfriend would be killed.

The former boyfriend, identified as Josue Arias, 32, of Tampa then broke into the house. The woman armed herself with a handgun and the woman and man went into separate rooms, Slaughter said.

Deputies began to try to talk to Arias and evacuated neighboring homes. However, Slaughter said Arias did not obey any of the deputies’ commands.

At one point, the woman was able to get away, the police chief said. She came outside and immediately put her gun down and was taken to safety by the deputies.

Slaughter said she left her phone inside with an open line to 911. Deputies were able to hear that the commands they were giving was only agitating Arias, so they tried other tactics.

During the standoff that lasted about 1 hour and 11 minutes, Arias came to the door holding a gun to the head of the man. The man later managed to get free and ran outside where deputies escorted him to safety.

Deputies were able to hear Arias make statements about not going back to prison. He also reportedly said his life was over and he was going to die. Slaughter said Arias’ statements made deputies concerned that the incident was not going to end peacefully.

Arias eventually left the house still armed with the handgun. Deputies believed he was trying to pinpoint the location of deputies he had seen when outside earlier. They opened fire at 4:49 a.m. with four deputies shooting the man numerous times. Arias was pronounced dead at the scene.

The deputies who fired their weapons were identified as William Byrd, Cameron Frame and Cristian Miller, all hired in 2018 and K-9 Deputy Claudio Dimundo, hired in 2007.

All four were placed on administrative leave.

Detectives from the Clearwater Police Department, St. Petersburg Police Department and Pinellas Park Police Department are working together as part of the task force investigating the shooting.