A Hernando man who had allegedly threatened to shoot someone at a Hernando business died himself on Saturday following a chase by Citrus County deputies and a subsequent exchange of gunfire.
At approximately 5 p.m. deputies started looking for a Blue KIA Sedona after Citrus County Sheriff’s Office dispatch received a call stating 28-year-old Brian Batchelder from Hernando was making threats to shoot someone at the Xtreme games 3 store at the U.S. 41 / State Road 200 apex across from the Cumberland Farms gas station in Hernando.
Patrol units quickly found Batchelder speeding down U.S. 41 north toward the shop. Batchelder failed to stop his vehicle, the CCSO said. A pursuit ensued Northbound on State Road 200. Because of high speeds and traffic volume, the chase was canceled. Marion County Sheriff’s Office was also notified, the CCSO said.
A short time later, deputies found Batchelder speeding down Southbound on County Road 491 and then Southbound on U.S. 41 through Hernando, passing the Xtreme games 3 store, at which point he pointed a firearm at deputies, the Sheriff’s Office said. After multiple attempts to try and stop the vehicle, Batchelder ran the red light at the U.S. 41 and S.R. 200 apex traveling at a high rate of speed, directly toward CCSO deputies who put themselves between Batchelder and citizens.
He slammed his vehicle into a sheriff’s vehicle, which in turn, pushed the cruiser into three other parked cars, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The impact of the crash forced other vehicles into a CCSO deputy. That deputy sustained non-life-threatening injuries, and the deputy was taken to a nearby hospital.
The CCSO said that deputies were then forced to discharge their weapons toward Batchelder’s vehicle. Deputies were able to get Batchelder out of the vehicle, but he died a short time later.
“This is a very tragic turn of events, where a man lost his life. We are very thankful that our officers were not seriously injured and that the many citizens who were very close to this extremely dangerous situation did not suffer catastrophic injuries,” said Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast.
“Again, we will count on FDLE to do a thorough investigation.”
FDLE will now take over the investigation. The deputies involved have been placed on administrative leave with pay per agency policy. We will not be releasing any more information regarding this case until FDLE is done with their investigation.