Florida deputy killed in hit-and-run, suspect in custody after manhunt
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A Florida man suspected of fatally shooting a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputy has been arrested.
Authorities announced the seizure on social media shortly after 9 a.m. ET.
A construction worker suspected of killing Deputy Michael Hartwick at a construction site on Interstate 275 late Thursday was searched for nearly 10 hours.
Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told reporters that 35-year-old Victor Vazquez-Real was driving a truck designed to carry heavy concrete barriers northbound – going at least 20 mph – when he crashed hit Hartwick.
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The incident happened around 10:30 pm and the deputy died instantly.
Although there was no indication that the act was intentional, Vazquez-Real fled the scene without attempting to render aid.
Vazquez-Real faces a charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving death, a second-degree felony, Gualtieri said.
He told a co-worker that he had hit the deputy and contacted someone else.
The worker helped Vazquez by hiding his construction jacket and hat in the woods.
Those employees were arrested and will be charged with being an accessory after the fact, Gualtieri said.
K-9 teams and hundreds of police officers assisted in the investigation.
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Gualtieri did not know that Vazquez had been arrested before.
Hartwick, a 51-year-old father, has worked in the office for 19 years.
He was assigned to the area to ensure the safety of construction workers and was standing outside his ship when he was killed.
“Deputy Hartwick is survived by two grown sons. We would like to send our deepest condolences to Deputy Hartwick’s family at this difficult time. Please keep his loved ones and our PCSO family in your thoughts and prayers,” the office said. said a word.
“Deputy Hartwick was doing what police officers do every day. He was off duty,” Gualtieri said.
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A march for Hartwick went through Pinellas County at 7 a.m. Friday.
The sheriff’s office said the intersection is closed after the crash, which is expected to last until noon today.
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