Pasco deputy who shot and killed man in named car, video released

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A deputy shot and killed a 40-year-old man after a fight inside a moving vehicle near Hudson Saturday night, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities identified the man Sunday morning as 40-year-old Paul Smith. The sheriff’s office identified the deputy as Christopher Howell. Authorities did not immediately release more information about Howell.

Around 5:30 p.m., Howell, on duty, approached Smith outside a 7-Eleven gas station near US 19 and New York Avenue, according to the sheriff’s office. Howell believed Smith was a suspect in a recent assault case and asked him to talk to him.

The sheriff’s office announced body camera footage of the incident, which the Times reviewed. The video shows Howell walking toward Smith, who was parked at a gas pump. The officer said “Hello Paul” several times and told her to get out of his car.

At that point, the video shows Smith, who had been standing and leaning inside his vehicle, sat in the driver’s seat, grabbed the steering wheel and asked, “What’s wrong?” as Howell grabbed Smith’s forearm. The officer repeatedly told Smith to get out of the car. Smith remained in the driver’s seat and continued to ask what was happening before starting the car.

The footage then shows the officer being inside the vehicle as Smith begins driving. It is unclear how Howell ended up inside the vehicle.

Throughout the incident, the officer repeatedly yelled at Smith to get out of the car, the footage shows. Howell can be seen using a Taser on the driver as tires screech can be heard.

Finally, Howell yelled, “Stop the car, they’re going to shoot you.” The video shows Howell pointing his gun at Smith while he stands behind the driver.

At a news conference, Pasco spokesman Col. Jeff Harrington defended Howell’s actions as necessary.

Pasco records show several criminal convictions against Paul Smith in that county, including assault and drug charges. Smith was convicted in 2019 of fleeing police in a car, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and hit-and-run, and served three years in state prison.

that incident It was news at the law enforcement released video of officers arresting Smith, who was found submerged in a swamp, covered in mud.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which helps agencies investigate incidents in which officers use force, was on the scene Saturday night and is investigating the matter.

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