SWAT officers trying to serve a search warrant at a Port Richey home Thursday before dawn were fired on as they entered, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.
The shooter, as identified by Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco: Port Richey Mayor Dale Massad.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said they arrested the 68-year-old Massad on charges of practicing medicine without a license. The office of Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody will prosecute Massad.
Nocco said Massad will also be charged with attempted homicide.
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This played out at 4:40 a.m. as the sheriff’s office was helping serve a search warrant at the home of Massad, who was under investigation by FDLE for practicing medicine without a license. He hasn’t been a doctor for just over 26 years.
The Pasco Sheriff’s Office knows Massad from previous dealings, most recently an August domestic violence arrest. Those charges were dropped.
“With a search warrant, we profile people’s lives, we look at their pattern of life,” Nocco said. “The suspect is a known drug user. The suspect has multiple weapons in the house. which was prevalent in what happened. The suspect has made statements that he doesn’t want to go back to jail. The suspect has a previous history of violence.
“That’s who we were dealing with today.”
According to Nocco, when the SWAT team approached and announced their presence, deputies could see Massad holding a gun. Nocco said Massad fired two rounds at deputies and they chose to surround the house. Others inside the house came out, but Massad remained inside. Deputies were preparing to use gas, Nocco said, when Massad surrendered.
“The suspect has been arrested,” Nocco said. “He shot at our members. He’s lucky he’s not dead.”
Florida Department of Health records say Massad was a licensed doctor from 1977 until 1992, when he voluntarily surrendered his license after the Board of Medicine alleged his errors in care led to a 3-year-old patient’s death in 1990.
“Agents launched an investigation and learned Massad had patients come to his home for various treatments,” FDLE said. “He had performed medical procedures at his residence with one procedure requiring additional hospital treatment for the patient.”