PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – A routine traffic stop wenty horribly wrong when a Pinellas County deputy shot a man twice.
After a month-long investigation, Deputy Timothy Virden has found himself out of a job and on the wrong side of the law.
Virden claimed he was forced to fire while in fear of his life, but Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said there was never any struggle over the gun. The sheriff said Virden lied.
Gualtieri is well-known for keeping his deputies in line and refusing to put up with any conduct unbecoming a law enforcement officer.
Virden sat in the back seat of a cruiser as he was arrested and charged with attempted manslaughter.
What the investigation found
Virden pulled Dylan Thompkins-Holmes and his girlfriend over in John’s Pass Village for a suspected DUI.
Dash-cam video captured the Dec. 30 incident.
Thompkins-Holmes decided not to cooperate as Virden and a fellow deputy take him to the cruiser. He can be heard saying, “I’m trying to get in the car.”
Virden replies by saying, “Get inside the car.”
The deputy then says, “Stand up.”
“I’m trying to, bro,” responds.
Moments later, Virden opens fire on Thompkins-Holmes, hitting him once in the wrist and once in the stomach.
Another deputy is then heard calling for backup. “We need fire rescue here,” that deputy says. “Shots have been fired.”
“Copy. We have a, uh, male down with a gunshot wound to the abdomen,” that deputy continues.
The deputy’s story
Virden initially claimed the DUI suspect reached for Virden’s own gun. However, the video shows Thompkins-Holmes is barely sitting in the cruiser. His blood alcohol level was .228.
Sheriff Gualtieri said there’s no way it could have happened. He demonstrated what Thompkins-Holmes would have had to do to get the gun out of Virden’s holster.
“Been able to, while handcuffed, do this, do this, do this and then get the gun out,” Gualtieri said. “Didn’t happen.”
“Assuming Deputy Virden’s version, which is just impossible, didn’t happen, couldn’t happen, there’s just no way,” the sheriff added.
The other deputy at the scene said Thompkins-Holmes never went for the gun but just “ran his mouth.”
News Channel 8 went to Virden’s home Friday. A woman who answered the door said, “Nope. We have no comment.”
Virden spent the last nine years at the sheriff’s office and nine years before that at the St. Petersburg Police Department.
His file contains three minor disciplinary actions.
Virden received a Medal of Valor and Purple Heart after being grazed by a bullet in a shootout in 2003.
“I just did what I was trained to do and keep going,” Virden said at the time.
Gualtieri said Friday Virden was trained to protect and serve, rather than lie and cover it up.
Virden is out of the Pinellas County Jail on $2,000 bond. Tompkins-Holmes survived the shooting. He has a criminal history in Pinellas County which includes DUI, driving with license suspended or revoked, criminal mischief, simple battery and other charges.
MORE STORIES YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN:
- Man arrested on 106 burglary, theft charges
- Family threatens lawsuit after snake bite at Disney park
- Baby found alive in Florida car with dead man, woman