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Suspected arsonist dies in shootout with Pasco deputies


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Pasco County deputies fatally shot a suspect in an attempted arson early this morning after they were ambushed in his New Port Richey-area house.

According to deputies, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office atempated to make contact around 1 a.m. with Patrick Gerome Tillery, 43, suspected of trying to set fire Wednesday night to the building and cars at Rock Bottom Auto Sales in Hudson, and threatening the owner.

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said Tillery’s wife told deputies he was not at home, but that Tillery opened fire after deputies were allowed into the home at 7806 Yucca Drive, off Osteen Road, just before 1:30 a.m.

Deputies returned fire, fatally shooting Tillery, Nocco said.

Tillery’s young children were in the house at the time of the shooting, Nocco said.

“You’re going to put your kids in that kind of situation? That’s horrific, and those children are going to live with this for the rest of their lives,” Nocco said.

“(Tillery) was the one who cause this situation; we ended it.”

No deputies were injured, Nocco said.

According to broadcast reports, the children are in protective custody, and charges against Tillery’s wife could be pending.

According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Tillery has several arrests dating back to 1987, including grand theft, burglary and aggravated assault.

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