TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — More deaths from Hurricane Ian were reported Sunday during a press conference held by the Lee County sheriff, along with other sheriffs from across the state.
Sheriff Carmine Marceno said his county has seen 42 casualties as a result of the hurricane.
“Forty-two is 42 more than I ever want to talk about,” Marceno said.
The sheriff said the projected number of dead is unknown due to the insurmountable damage the county has seen.
“We have buildings, multiple-floor buildings, that have been washed out,” he said. “It’s incomprehensible what we’re looking at.
However, Marceno said there are not hundreds of bodies washed up on beaches, which was a rumor spread about the destruction.
“Those numbers could go up,” he said. “I don’t know. I hope and pray that they don’t.”
When asked about the preparations the county made before Ian’s landfall, he said Ian was an unpredictable storm and that he supported his county commissioners for their efforts to prepare, saying they gave their all.
Marceno said Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, whose county was originally in the line of a direct hit, called him and informed him that Ian was headed toward him.
“We weren’t even in a project path or Cone,” Marceno said.
When it came to looters, Marceno said those who dare to steal from those who are suffering will not be tolerated. He said with the help of local and law enforcement across the state, some suspects have been caught.
However, Marceno had a definite warning for anyone who thinks they should try their hand at looting.
“When I say zero tolerance, I stand with our great residents in zero tolerance cause law and order and safety and security is number one,” he said. “If someone makes the error to walk into someone’s house [to] rob, steal, and loot, they’re going to be carried out … and I’m certain about it.