MANATEE — A 31-year-old man was shot to death by a deputy Thursday morning after he charged at the deputy with a samurai sword, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office late Thursday morning identified the dead man as Terry M. Sellars Jr.
Sellars, 31, had an arrest history that includes charges of resisting arrest, armed burglary, burglary, robbery, battery and assault, said Manatee Sheriff Brad Steube.
Sellars also spelled his last name as “Sellers.”
The deputy, a more than 10-year veteran whose name was not released, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation. He was not injured.
At about 8 a.m., a 911 call came in from a woman saying she been beaten by her son, Sellars. She made the call from the Circle K at the intersection of 33rd Street East and State Road 70.
Employees at the Circle K said they did not see the woman, who probably made the call from outside the store.
Deputies responded to the Circle K and interviewed her.
“Basically, she said that she was struck with a telephone book twice, then she was choked. She has previous injuries related to neck and back, and that her son did this and would not let her out of the house,” Steube said.
Four deputies in three vehicles went to the home and were preparing to arrest Sellars and charge him with false imprisonment and domestic battery. The deputy who fired had been standing on the running board of a sheriff’s office SUV and had just stepped off.
“Before the three deputies got out of the car, the son bolted out the front door with a very large samurai sword and charged at one of the deputies, “ Steube said. “The deputy, in backing up, fired several shots at the son.”
The mother had initially called 911 from the home and left the call open.
“Shortly after she dialed 911, apparently the son grabbed the cell phone and walked to a back bedroom,” Steube said. “When he walked to the back bedroom, the mother ran out of the house, jumped in a pick-up truck and then ended up at the Circle K.”
The deputy followed protocol, Steube said.
“When you have someone that is charging up to you with a sword, that leaves you with very few options,” Steube said. “We don’t fire warning shots, it’s against our policies and procedures.”
The mother was very upset, and remained at the home with a victim’s advocate as investigators processed the scene.
Sellars’ adult sister was also home at the time of the incident.
Nearby in the Garden Lakes Estates, a 55-and-over community, neighbors said they heard the gunshots.
“I don’t know how many shots were fired,” said one neighbor on the 5800 block of Garden Lakes Fern who asked not to be named. “I think it was like five.”
Steube had been on his way to the Florida Sheriff’s Association Legislative Summit when he got the call. He remained on the scene, while someone else went on to represent the sheriff’s office at the summit.
According to the Florida Department of Corrections website, Sellars most recently was released from prison on April 2, after serving five months of an almost 14-month sentence for felony battery.
Initially, Sellars had been sentenced to two years of probation on May 1, 2013, but in October was found guilty of violating the probation and sent to prison.
An arrest report details how Sellars entered the victim’s tent and demanded $10. When he was told that the victim didn’t have any money, Sellars struck the victim 10 to 15 times, knocking four of his teeth out.
“We have been at this house since January, but this is a rental so we are not sure if it is tied to these particular individuals,” Steube said.
This is second deputy-involved fatal shooting this year.
In April, Manatee deputies found themselves in a shootout with a bank robbery suspect that resulted in an officer being injured. Lt. Robert Mealy was shot in the arm and has since recovered.
The suspect, Ross Chrisman, died in the shootout.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached to 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.