BRADENTON, FL (WFLA) — A man is dead after a Manatee County Sheriff’s Deputy shot him in a Winn Dixie parking lot in Bradenton early Thursday.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, a deputy spotted a “suspicious vehicle” around midnight in the parking lot of the store located at 1010 53rd Ave E. Another deputy responded for backup. As deputies walked up to the vehicle, Randy Allen Smith age 34, got out of the car and approached the two in an “aggressive manner,” according to the sheriff’s office.
A physical altercation followed and one of the deputies was struck in the head. Both deputies used their tasers during the incident and Smith pulled out a gun. That’s when, according to the sheriff’s office, a deputy shot Smith. He died at Manatee Memorial Hospital.
Manatee County Sheriff’s spokesman Dave Bristow said, “Things just went bad. We could only surmise that that had something to do with him not wanting to be compliant with the deputies.”
Angelisa Tepe, Smith’s former girlfriend, brought the couple’s 8-year-old son Andre to the crime scene. He wanted to see the spot where his father was last alive.
Tepe said, “It’s hard for him to understand, he’s so close to his dad.” She said Smith battled mental issues.
Tepe said, “He’s a really good guy inside, and he’s probably just having some problems and he needed some help.”
She said recently, he gave her a strange message on a phone call. “He called me recently and said he’s ready to die and he needs somebody to help him.” I was very worried about him. Every day we’d pray for him.”
Tepe is sad that he is gone. “He was a really good guy, he had a really good heart, and he loved all of us very much and we love him.”
Deputies say they discovered drugs that were suspected to be heroin and cocaine on Smith. The firearm that Smith had was recovered at the scene. A witness who was also in the vehicle is cooperating with deputies.
Smith has a lengthy criminal history, with various drug and battery charges dating back to 2000. Both deputies have been placed on leave while the case is being investigated.
One deputy has been with the department for 5 years, the other for 1 year.
Along with the sheriff’s office, the State Attorney’s Office is now investigating the shooting, which is normal in deadly deputy-involved shootings.