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Florida Vet’s Death Struggle With Deputies Probed

January 1, 2017

LAND O’LAKES, Fla. — The death of an Air Force veteran following a struggle with Tampa Bay-area Sheriff’s deputies was under investigation, authorities said.

John Sellinger, 34, of Tampa, went into “distress” after being detained by deputies who sprayed him with pepper spray and shocked him with a stun gun twice, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.

Sellinger died Dec. 29 at a hospital. Autopsy results are pending.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that Sellinger was reported missing by his wife. The sheriff’s office said Sellinger then was the subject of multiple 911 calls about a reckless driver and attempts to steal a car and a motorcycle.

Sellinger tried to steal the motorcycle from a 70-year-old man and was trying to choke him before bystanders intervened, authorities said.

Sheriff’s officials said that when deputies caught up to Sellinger, he refused to follow their commands and tried to fight them.

Officials said Sellinger continued to struggle with deputies after being sprayed with pepper spray and shocked twice with the stun gun.

According to the Sheriff’s office, Sellinger went into “distress” before medical assistance could arrive at the scene. Deputies attempted to revive him before paramedics took him to a hospital.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that Sellinger’s wife and mother declined to comment. Sellinger’s wife, Laura, also an Air Force veteran, posted a message to the social networking website LinkedIn that her husband had not been suicidal.

Sellinger’s neighbors said he had been a doting husband who was often seen pushing his 18-month-old son in a baby stroller or walking a dog.

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