PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Pasco County Sheriff’s Office deputies captured a dangerous suspect on Friday morning who was the focus of a full-scale manhunt during which residents were warned to lock their doors and stay inside.
Deputies captured suspected car thief Brandon Goggins, age 30, in a swampy area near State Road 52 around 11 a.m. on Friday. Authorities described Goggins as a dangerous criminal with a long arrest record who also has ties to a white supremacist group.
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A sheriff’s office spokesperson said that on Friday morning citizens in the area noticed Goggins come out of the swamp and called 911. Deputies in the area who were searching for him quickly converged and took him into custody.
Jessica Weightman called 911 when she noticed a stranger on her families 96 acre property just south of State Road 52. “He was covered in mud, he had a walking stick with him,” said Weightman. Her father, Jeff Griffin arrived and started asking the man questions. “I started questioning him and he looks like he’s been laying in the swamp all night. None of this story matched up. He said I’m lost. Well, why are you back over here instead of on the highway,” said Griffin.
The man started acting nervously, then began cursing at Griffin. Griffin’s son arrived and heard the man yelling at his father. Jeremy Griffin is a very large man. He jumped out of his truck and started to chase the man as he ran away. Jessica and Jeff began calling 911 and within minutes, Goggins was in custody.
” I can tell you during the search last night, the terrain was very, very bad. It was not just a swamp, it was a thick muck that our members were getting stuck in, “said Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco.
Nocco describes Goggins as a dangerous person who has threatened to kill a law enforcement officer before. ” We had an individual who had a gun, who says he was threatening to shoot law enforcement. So, for us we take that very seriously,” said Nocco.
The sheriff praised his deputies and a New Port Richey Police officer for taking Goggins into custody without firing a shot. “He’s lucky the moccasins didn’t get him, the alligators didn’t get him. I mean he’s very fortunate he made it out with all of his limbs,” said Nocco.
Earlier the sheriff’s office identified a woman who was with Goggins during the chase a a girlfriend of the felon. The sheriff now believes it was an entirely different situation.
” It turns out she was actually a victim. She states to us that Brandon Goggins held her against her will and had a gun up to her head,” said Nocco.
Goggins was given water and checked out medically before being taken to jail.
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