PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — An armed theft suspect was arrested after he allegedly dragged an officer with a stolen vehicle and barricaded himself in a Pinellas County hotel room for about 12 hours, authorities said.
The man, later identified as 49-year-old Walter Brois, has a lengthy rap sheet with more than 40 arrests, according to Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.
Police say an officer tried to stop Brois when he saw him in a stolen car in the parking lot of a Sam’s Club in Pinellas Park. The officer deployed his taser, but Brois was able to drive off with the officer and dragged him through the parking lot before throwing him from the vehicle. The officer suffered minor cuts and bruises, authorities said.
Police said Brois continued driving then stopped at a Comfort Inn & Suites on Ulmerton Road and barricaded himself inside a room on the fourth floor. A SWAT team responded and evacuated the hotel.
“He made it painfully clear he was not going to come out and we would have to come in and kill him,” said Pinellas Park Police Chief Michael Haworth.
Hotel guest Jack Jacobson told 8 On Your Side the situation had him “very nervous and very upset.”
“Basically waking up at 2 o’clock in the morning with armed guns, masks—everything—tear gas telling us we have to wake up and leave the premises at this point,” he recalled.
SWAT officers deployed more than 50 rounds of tear gas into the room before busting through the door, which had been blocked with furniture and other items.
Officers found Brois “hunkered down, wrapped multiple times in sheets on the bed,” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said.
The sheriff said Brois was loading a gun when officers entered the room.
“He was racking the gun and prepared to use it.”
After a twelve-hour standoff, Brois was safely taken into custody. No other injuries were reported.
Police had blocked off both directions of Ulmerton Road from 49th Street North to Feather Sound Drive, but the roadway has since reopened.
Police said a woman who was with Brois at the Sam’s Club was also arrested.
Gualtieri said Brois previously served 13 years in prison and has been arrested more than 41 times on 142 separate charges.