A Pembroke Pines man about to be evicted from his
townhouse was hospitalized Friday after law enforcement officers shot
him when he threatened to burn down the place.
Police Sgt. John Gazzano said the incident began
around 11:15 a.m. when a Broward Sheriff’s deputy showed up and tried
to remove a male resident from a townhome in the gated Hampton Isles
community in the 700 block of Southwest 107th Avenue.
The man, later identified in local television
reports as Allen Gauntlett, 52, a security guard and ex-Jamaican police
officer, refused to come out. The deputy called Pembroke Pines for
assistance, Gazzano said.
“Our units were en route when the deputy called
Pembroke Pines police to say the subject was setting his house on
fire,” Gazzano said.
Then, more chaos erupted.
Officers fired multiple shots, leaving Gauntlett
with life-threatening wounds, according to officials. He was taken to
Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood where he underwent surgery later
Records from the Broward County Clerk of Courts
show Gauntlett had fallen behind on monthly condo fees on the townhouse
and the Hampton Isles condo board filed suit against him on Jan. 5,
2010. The case was assigned to Broward Circuit Judge Michele Towbin.
Those county records also show Allen G. Gauntlett
and Audrey C. Gauntlett paid more than $8,000 in three checks to the
condo board on Tuesday, but it was apparently too late in the process to
stop Friday’s eviction.
When a homeowner or tenant receives notice of a
pending eviction, there is often an angry response, said BSO spokesman
Jim Leljedal. But, by moving day, “they know that it’s coming,” he
Evictions in Broward are generally handled by the
sheriff’s office, Leljedal said. Deputies typically work alone, but
“if they sense a problem, they can call for backup. That’s what
happened in this case.”
Pembroke Pines police provided few details on what
forced officers to shoot. Gauntlett has a concealed weapons permit, but
it was unknown whether he had a weapon at the time of the shooting.
As firefighters and paramedics arrived at the
complex, south of Pines Boulevard and east of Hiatus Road, they saw
flames and smoke coming from the townhouse. They quickly put out the
fire, which was contained to the two-bedroom unit. Firefighters quickly
searched for other occupants, but found none
The damage was described as “significant,” and
estimated to be in excess $70,000, according to Tom Gallagher, spokesman
for the Pembroke Pines Fire Department.
“The windows are broken and all black,”
The city’s fire prevention bureau and the state
fire marshal will continue to investigate the blaze
Neighbor Manuel Reyes said he saw Gauntlett push
an officer and the officer opened fire.
Other residents in the subdivision were stunned to
find out about the shooting. Those coming in were told to park across
the street and walk into the community.