Suspect surrenders after Hernando hostage crisis ends; 1 dead

At approximately 4 p.m. on Saturday, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) received reports of an armed suspect, William Poole, 62, who deputies said was barricaded inside of a home with shots fired near the intersection of Highway 41 and Van Ness Road in Hernando.

Deputies immediately responded to the scene and began securing the area. The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office Crisis Negotiation Team, as well as the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, also responded and began working to safely remove the four victims being held inside the home.

SWAT team members, as well as Drone Operators, from the Sheriff’s Office’s partners at the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) also responded to assist.

As the situation developed, members of both the CCSO SWAT team and the SCSO SWAT team were able to safely remove the four victims from an adjacent structure. Following their rescue, the victims began working with the CCSO Crisis Negotiation Team in an attempt to talk the suspect out of the home without further incident.

After an hour of speaking to the suspect, SWAT team members were able to convince the suspect to lay down the weapon and surrender to deputies, who then took the individual into custody. Unfortunately, deputies located one victim deceased on scene. The dead man was later identified as William White, 80, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Members of the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office specialty teams undergo extensive training year round to ensure they are prepared for incidents such as this one,” said Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast.

“The tireless efforts of our patrol deputies, the SWAT team, the Crisis Negotiation Team, and our partners at the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office saved the life of four innocent people today. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the victim. Our detectives will continue to work diligently to bring them justice.”

Detectives of CCSO’s Major Crimes Unit will continue to investigate this incident, and the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office will provide updates as they become available. Anyone with information regarding this incident should contact the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office at (352) 726-1121 and ask for the Major Crimes Unit.

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