Seffner Suspect Dead After Opening Fire on Deputies

August 7, 2020

By: Staff Report

DOVER, Fla. – The suspect involved in a shooting in Seffner on Thursday evening, August 6, 2020, has died after opening fire on deputies in a restaurant parking lot in Dover.

Shortly after midnight on Friday, August 7, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office deputies located Nicholas Kocolis, 51, who was earlier identified as the suspect in a shooting that occurred on Williams Road at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Deputies attempted to arrest him in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant at 12902 Newsome Road in Dover. Kocolis fired multiple shots at deputies, forcing three deputies to return fire. Kocolis was struck and died from his injuries at the scene. No deputies were hit or injured.

Nicholas Kocolis, 51

During the original shooting incident, Kocolis approached a truck and shot the driver, then forced the adult female passenger, who is his ex-girlfriend, into the driver’s seat. Kocolis got into the passenger seat and ordered the female victim to drive. A short distance later, she crashed the truck into a water-filled culvert.

A Good Samaritan, who saw the woman attempting to get away from Kocolis, allowed her into their vehicle. Kocolis again opened fire, hitting the vehicle as the Good Samaritan fled. The ordeal caused the driver to crash a short distance later on Williams Road, just north of U.S. 92. Kocolis fled the scene, and through investigative measures, was later located at the Newsome Road location.

Kocolis has a lengthy criminal history. He served 16 years in prison, from 1997-2013, for trafficking cocaine. He also served time for felon in possession of a gun in 1996 and burglary in 1994.

The three HCSO deputies who returned fire during the shooting were Sgt. Jason Roberts, who has been with HCSO since 2003; Deputy Michael Vegeto, who has been with HCSO since 2013; and Deputy Derrick Shea, who has been with HCSO since 2008. None of the three deputies has previously been involved in a deadly use of force incident.

“We are extremely thankful that none of our deputies were hit. This very dangerous individual is off the streets, and he will not be able to victimize another person in this community,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “We believe this incident stems from domestic violence. I encourage anyone who may be the victim of abuse to reach out to one of the many resources available in Hillsborough County, such as the Spring of Tampa Bay at 813-247-SAFE (813-247-7233).”

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