State says hernando deputies were ‘justified’ in september shooting death gasco abu dhabi contact

Hernando County Sheriff’s Office personnel have been cleared in the death of Scott Michael Chamberlain, a bank robbery suspect deputies shot in the middle of Broad Street following a speedy chase in September, according to the Florida State Attorney’s Office.

According to an autopsy report by the District 5 Medical Examiner’s Office, Chamberlain, 44, was shot 18 times by deputies — twice in the chest and abdomen, in the hip and leg, and several times in his back and arms. His blood tested positive for cocaine and fentanyl. His death was ruled a homicide.

Less than 10 days before his death, Chamberlain threatened "suicide by cop" — a term that means someone wants to die in an encounter with law enforcement — in a series of Facebook posts that friends and family reported to the Sheriff’s Office.

Albrecht said when he called Chamberlain to ask about the post, Chamberlain told him there would be "blood (spatter) on the dash cam and he would be a YouTube sensation." Albrecht said Chamberlain also told him he was going to purchase illegal drugs and admitted to committing multiple crimes in recent weeks, including holding a woman at knifepoint.

After speaking with Albrecht, deputies went to Chamberlain’s listed address on Mohican Avenue in Brooksville, reports said, but found only his mother, Deborah Chamberlain. She told them that her son had moved out. After more than 12 years of being drug-free, she said he had started using again and was spiraling out of control.

Later that day, deputies found Chamberlain driving a white pickup truck southbound down Sunshine Grove Road and tried to pull him over, reports said. At first, he wouldn’t stop. When he eventually did, it was near Lighthouse Baptist Church at 7399 Fort Dade Ave. in Brooksville, which he had attended.

Chamberlain refused to communicate with deputies and was taken to Springbrook Hospital in Brooksville and held under the Baker Act, a state law that allows people to be taken into custody against their will if they are considered a danger to themselves or others.

Along the way, Chamberlain made multiple threats to himself, deputies and a female hostage sitting in his front passenger seat, according to an FDLE report. In later interviews with investigators, Hernando deputies recalled Chamberlain ramming into at least two law enforcement vehicles. They said at times they could see him holding a knife to the hostage’s throat, or motioning it downward, as if he was stabbing her leg.

When Detective Willard "Brian" Stephens, 43, a 13-year veteran of the agency, recounted the incident in an interview with FLDE investigators, he said "everybody" started shooting once Chamberlain entered the patrol vehicle. He was the only one of the seven deputies involved not to discharge a firearm with live ammunition, only a single bean bag shot.

Together, the other six deputies fired 39 rounds, according to the report. Those deputies were: Lt. Phil Lakin, 51, a 14-year veteran; Sgt. Scott Lamia, 41, a 19-year veteran; Detective Richard Purchase, 36, a 13-year veteran; Detective Kim Burger, 45, a 17-year veteran; Deputy Roy McLaughlin, 40, employed since 2014; and Deputy Richard Killingsworth, 27, employed since 2013.

"I’m glad that an external review of (the case) found that my deputies acted lawfully," Nienhuis told the Tampa Bay Times. "Still, anytime there is a loss of life or serious injury, we want to go back and look at it ourselves to make sure we can learn something from it… That’s the way you get better."