AP NEWS

Sheriff: Florida mayor fired at deputies during raid

February 21, 2019

PORT RICHEY, Fla. (AP) — The mayor of a small Florida city fired two shots at sheriff’s deputies who raided his home Thursday to arrest him on allegations of practicing medicine without a license, authorities said.

Port Richey Mayor Dale Massad fired at Pasco County deputies during an early morning raid, but no one was hit and they did not return fire, Sheriff Chris Nocco said. The deputies retreated and Massad, 68, soon surrendered.

“He’s lucky he’s not dead,” said Nocco, who said Massad will be charged with attempted murder.

He said Massad has a history of drug use, violence and threats and owns several guns, which is why deputies raided the 3,200-square-foot, waterfront home rather than make a routine arrest. He said Massad fired after deputies announced their presence. Three other people in the home were not charged. It couldn’t be immediately determined if Massad has an attorney.

Port Richey is a town of 2,800 about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Tampa on the Gulf Coast. Massad was elected mayor in 2015 and served on the city council from 2000 to 2008.

State officials say Massad was treating patients at his home even though he lost his physician’s license in 1992. He and his girlfriend were arrested in August after deputies said they battered each other.

Neighbors Linda and Brian Van Es told the Tampa Bay Times they awoke to gunshots and heard deputies ordering someone to drop their gun and surrender.

“It’s unfortunate, but it’s not surprising, because of his history,” Linda Van Es said.