August 22, 2015

Key Largo man shoots at Coast Guard, flees

A Key Largo man was apprehended Friday night after a chase on the water during which he shot numerous times at the U.S. Coast Guard.

Deputies were dispatched to 51 Shoreland Drive in Key Largo to Jules Undersea Lodge marina. Witnesses called to report 40 year old Daniel Szabo had a gun and was acting strangely. When Deputy Gil Gonzalez and Sgt. Sydney Whitehouse arrived shortly after 9 p.m., Szabo had already left on a dinghy. The witnesses said Szabo was intoxicated and had been waving a gun around and had held it to his own head before taking off in the dinghy.

Sgt. Whitehouse saw Szabo in the dingy as he left. He watched as Szabo headed out into the open water. The U.S. Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded by water to assist. They pursued Szabo’s dinghy. At one point during their attempts to apprehend him, Szabo crashed his dinghy into mangroves and fired his gun at the Coast Guard several times. He also rammed a Coast Guard vessel with his dinghy. At one point, as officers ordered him to surrender himself, Szabo yelled “shoot me!”

Szabo was finally safely apprehended and handcuffed. He was brought to shore where he was charged with fleeing and eluding police. A Coast Guard investigator responded to the scene and said his agency would be pursuing federal charges due to his firing a gun at the Coast Guard.

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