AUBURNDALE (FOX 13) - An Auburndale man is dead after being shot by a deputy who thought the man was carrying a gun. It turns out Dominic Fuller was carrying a stapler.
Polk Sheriff's Office deputies were called to a home on Delon Court a little after 7 p.m. Monday.
They found Dominic Fuller, an ex-con and a known gang member, arguing with his girlfriend in a stolen car. When they tried to question him, investigators say he took off running and tried to break into several homes to hide.
A woman told deputies that Fuller said he had a gun. He eventually holed up at Hope Equine Rescue a few blocks from where he started.
The founder, who was on a plane on her way to a conference, found out about the chaos when her phone blew up.
"I was in panic mode," Dani Horton, founder of Hope Equine Rescue, told FOX 13 in a phone interview. "That's something you don't expect to happen, ever."
SWAT members and other officers surrounded the house. One deputy thought he saw Fuller holding a gun when he came to the door. The object was black with silver trim.
The deputy fired off five rounds, killing Fuller.
"He made a split-second decision based on a choice, a bad choice the suspect made," said Polk Sheriff Grady Judd. "We don't choose to shoot people. People choose for us to shoot them."
The deputy who shot Fuller has been put on paid leave unit several different investigations are complete.