RIVERVIEW, Fla. – The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a road rage incident that resulted in a deputy being shot at by another driver.
The incident happened just after 6 p.m. on Balm Riverview Road and CR-672, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister.
Chronister said the deputy was traveling north on Balm Riverview Road, heading home after his annual in-service training.
The deputy was behind a green Saturn driving slowly and decided to pass the car. Chronister said as the deputy starts to pass the car, he sees the driver roll the window down and stick his arm out the window.
Chronister said the man was holding a firearm and fired toward the deputy. The bullet hit just behind the passenger side rear passenger side door, according to Chronister.
“I wouldn’t have taken much, maybe a little higher to go through the window, and it could possibly have struck this deputy, and we would be having a much different conversation tonight,” said Chronister.
The deputy immediately pulls over, stops, gets a good description of the driver and the vehicle information on the tag, and puts it out on the radio.
Within minutes, deputies converged on the area and spotted the suspect vehicle.
Inside the vehicle, deputies found the driver, 49-year-old Tracy Swint of Riverview, along with his wife in the passenger seat. After interviews with TeamHCSO detectives, Swint confessed to shooting at the deputy in a fit of road rage, but denies knowing that the vehicle was a marked Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office SUV when he shot at it.
Deputies say there were beer cans and marijuana in the vehicle, and the suspect told investigators that he, “got stressed out and let his emotions get the best of him.” He also stated that he didn’t know he was shooting at a law enforcement officer.
Chronister doesn’t buy it.
“I have to tell you, I have a hard time believing that one, as you see our big large Tahoe, SUVs with “Sheriff” written all the way down the side of it. With decals that reflect at night. I find it hard to believe that he didn’t know that he was shooting at one of these law enforcement officers that keep this community safe,” said Chronister.
The passenger in the vehicle is not facing charges at this time. Tracy Swint is facing charges of aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer and shooting into an occupied vehicle, both felonies.
“I have to tell you, I’m angry. I’m angry. I’m angry that anyone — any driver — would inflict violence on another human being in our community because his emotions got the best of him over something he believed was a traffic-related incident. I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed that any member of our Tampa Bay community would shoot at a law enforcement officer. The same law enforcement officer that’s out here protecting this community. And I have to tell you, at the same time, I’m grateful. I’m grateful to God that this deputy wasn’t injured, and after probably a lengthy interview and a long night for this deputy, he’s going to be able to go home to his family and his loved ones.”