NEW: PBSO deputies acted properly in May 2017 shootouts involving armed robber, authorities say


Two separate shootouts hours apart ended with a sheriff’s dog hurt and an alleged armed robber and carjacker dead. Separate investigations now have ruled Palm Beach County deputies acted appropriately in both confrontations. 

Phillip Byron O'Shea, 46, exchanged fire with deputies the morning of May 12, 2017, near Palm Beach International Airport. He died in a separate shootout that afternoon in Jupiter.

RELATED The last day of Philip Byron O’Shea

A Palm Beach County sheriff's internal-affairs investigation, concluded in July, ruled the deputies' actions were justified in the morning incident. 

Because the afternoon standoff ended in a fatal police shooting, PBSO deferred that investigation to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which had reached a similar conclusion April 5. Also, on Feb. 28, Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg's office formally declared no criminal charges either would be filed or forwarded to a grand jury.

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Stacey Reilley later told The Palm Beach Post she believes her brother, a career criminal who stole to feed his drug habit, wanted a "suicide by cop."

Shea's family "100 percent do not hold the (sheriff's office) in any way responsible," Reilley said.

"This is a very dangerous individual who now is off the street," Sheriff Ric Bradshaw told reporters just after O'Shea was killed near the Wood Duck apartments in Jupiter. “He obviously was not going to be taken alive."

At about 4 a.m. May 12, O'Shea pulled an armed robbery of Duggan's Pub & Grill, at Okeechobee Boulevard and Haverhill Road in suburban West Palm Beach. He then raced down the road and pulled into an industrial park about a half-mile west of Interstate 95. Deputies said his car flipped and slammed into a fence and he came out shooting. 

Three deputies shot back: Robert Jacques, on the force since 2015, and Dustin Sullivan and Jorge Gomez, both hired in 2016. Sullivan hurt his shoulder diving for cover. 

It later was learned that one of the deputies had shot O'Shea in the thigh.

Deputies said O'Shea escaped and, two hours after the chase, took a woman's car at gunpoint near PBIA. At about 5 p.m., deputies were led to O'Shea in the parking lot of the apartment complex in Jupiter, on Military Trail south of Toney Penna Drive.

According to the FDLE report, O'Shea backed into a parking space. The deputies considered ramming the car to block O'Shea from escaping again. A PBSO truck pulled up and touched the bumper. 

A witness said she heard someone say over a bullhorn, "We know you are hurt. We don't want to hurt you. We want you to put your weapon down." The witness said the pleas were repeated several times. 

Another witness said he heard deputies say, "It doesn't have to end this way." 

A supervisor said he saw O'Shea, smoking a cigarette in the front seat, place a gun to his head.

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O'Shea's mother later told investigators she was on the phone with O'Shea and heard deputies calling for him to surrender. She said she pleaded with her son to do so. But, O’Shea — who previously had spent years in prison and was the subject of an outstanding North Carolina warrant for robbery, not to mention the morning holdup — replied, “Mom, they'll give me life. I'm not going back."

The mother told deputies her son "wanted to die."

O'Shea left the car with the 9 mm Ruger handgun still at his head. Deputies shouted for him to drop the gun. Instead, standing fewer than two car lengths away, he fired at deputies. 

One bullet struck police dog Casper in the hip. A bullet went through the front bumper of one deputy's truck. Another ricocheted off the ground; a deputy said his cheek was struck by what likely was splintered concrete. 

It later was determined that K-9 deputy Charles Hardy, who started at PBSO in 2000, and tactical agent Nicholas Lentini, hired in 2003, each fired their shotguns once, killing O'Shea. 

Tactical Agent Todd Romagnoli, who joined the office in 1999, fired five rounds from his .45-caliber Glock handgun, but all missed. 

Casper would recover and in November 2017, the dog received a departmental Purple Heart. 

O'Shea died moments after he was shot. 

Deputies estimated the fatal shootout lasted fewer than four minutes.



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