PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Pasco County deputy fatally shot a man in Port Richey early Saturday morning after a traffic stop turned into a violent confrontation, according to authorities.

The Pasco Sheriff’s Office said they got a call about a suspicious vehicle at a Rodeway Inn on US-19.

A deputy tried to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle, which stopped in the parking lot of the Rodeway Inn.

As the deputy approached the car, the suspect tried to run away while the deputy chased him, according to the sheriff’s office. During their initial altercation, the deputy’s body camera was dislodged.

Officials said the suspect returned to the vehicle and tried to drive off while the deputy tried to get him to stop.

“The deputy was so close as the suspect got into the car that he was clinging on to the suspect, clinging on to the car, still fighting him [and] attempting to detain him, when the suspect rapidly accelerated,” Major Tait Sanborn said.

The deputy was dragged approximately 150 feet in the parking lot while he told the suspect to stop. Sanborn said the deputy saw the suspect reach for an object under his seat.

According to the sheriff’s office, the deputy told the suspect to stop reaching for the object until the deputy got his own weapon and fired three shots at the suspect. This caused both men to fall out of the vehicle.

“The deputy was able to [remove] the suspect from the vehicle, take him into custody, and render aid along with other responding deputies,” Sanborn said.

Pasco Fire Rescue also arrived to treat the suspect’s injuries, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the major.

As of this report, the sheriff’s office did not release the suspect’s name but said he was a documented gang member with “an extensive history” with the sheriff’s office. He had 43 previous arrests and was released from prison in October 2021.

Special-Agent-in-Charge Mark Brutnell with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said the state has taken charge of the investigation since it is a deputy-involved shooting. Brutnell said they have digital evidence and are collecting other forms of evidence, but the investigation is still in it’s early stages.

Officials said they are glad no law enforcement officers were hurt.

“I’d also like to thank the citizens of Pasco County that frequently pray for us,” Sanborn said. “Those prayers were answered tonight as we don’t have any deputy sheriffs that were injured, although it was close.”