Man’s Attack on Church Leads to Deadly Deputy Encounter


Confrontation in Divine Mercy Prayer Center Ends in Tragic Shooting

HCSO OIS in Plant City

Deputies say the man was armed with a sharp object, later determined by a local TV station to be a railroad spike.
(Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office)

In a heart-stopping incident at the Divine Mercy Prayer Center in Plant City, Florida, a man threatening worshippers inside the church was shot and killed by deputies early Tuesday morning.

A Confrontational Encounter

At around 2:40 a.m., deputies responded to a disturbance call at the prayer center. Body camera footage released by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) reveals the man walking behind a wrought-iron fence and growling at the responding officers.

Despite commands to drop a sharp object in his possession, the suspect refused. As the man became increasingly agitated, he kicked open the metal fence and lunged at the deputies.

In an attempt to restrain the individual without harm, deputies deployed a BolaWrap and a Taser, but both proved ineffective.

Deadly Force Deployed

Fearing for their lives, deputies discharged their firearms, fatally wounding the suspect. Immediate lifesaving efforts were initiated, but they were unsuccessful.

Transparency and Accountability

Two deputies involved in the shooting, Deputy Robert Sanchez and Deputy Jacob St. John, have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Sanchez has served for 17 years with the sheriff’s office, and St. John has been a deputy for 10 months.

Church Affected

Reverends residing at the worship center informed the sheriff that the tragic incident forced them to cancel a scheduled mass.

LA News Center‘s Statement

In a statement, LA News Center reported that the sharp object in the suspect’s possession was determined to be a railroad spike.

Data sourced from: