Video: Polk County deputy survives shot to the chest thanks to bulletproof vest

The Polk County Sheriff's Office released surveillance video from a nearby home of a shooting that could have been tragic for a deputy and his family, but wasn't thanks to a bulletproof vest, a St. Michael’s medallion and the "good Lord," according to Sheriff Grady Judd.

It happened last Wednesday in the Tanglewood Preserve community in Davenport. Deputy Tony Nunez was shot in the chest after responding to a domestic situation.

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Sheriff Judd said 41-year-old Gabriel Batista had been calling, texting and aggressively banging on the door of his estranged wife’s home, and she eventually called 911. Batista was gone by the time deputies arrived, but while they talked to his estranged wife, a child spotted Batista pulling up in front of the home. 

Deputies approached Batista and asked to see his hands, but he refused. Batista backed around a patrol car, and then his vehicle, with his hands behind his back. 

Judd said Deputy Nunez and Deputy Nicole Lyons tried to deescalate the situation. When deescalation failed, Deputy Lyons deployed her stun gun. 

Batista opened fire, taking six shots. 

Deputy Nunez fired back, but was hit by a bullet in the center of the chest. 

"It was a blessing because our deputy was wearing a bulletproof vest, and he was wearing St. Michael’s medallion that he says he never leaves home without," stated Judd. "As a result, he has a scuff mark on his chest, we believe is where the bullet struck through the vest to the St. Michael’s and that’s what caused the scratch."

According to Judd, Nunez's gun jammed after he fired one shot. 

Photo of Gabriel Batista, provided by Polk County Sheriff's Office

Photo of Gabriel Batista, provided by Polk County Sheriff's Office

After the shooting, Batista surrendered and was taken into custody and Judd said the suspect confessed to the shooting. 

Batista said, "Tell the deputy I’m sorry I tried to kill him," Judd claimed.

However, Judd said Batista told his family that he intended to die by forcing deputies to shoot him.

"I’m sorry the gun jammed," Judd said. "He needed shooting a lot and we would have fulfilled his request and it would have been his last request. Now, our goal is to send him to prison for the rest of his life upon conviction."  

Scene in Davenport neighborhood where a deputy-involved shooting occurred. The deputy was shot in the chest but was wearing a bulletproof vest and is expected to be OK.

Deputy Nunez was taken to the hospital and later released. He was expected to make a full recovery.

Batista has been charged with first-degree attempted murder.