Tampa deputies rescue shoplifting suspect from canal

TAMPA (WSVN) — Deputies from Pasco Sheriff’s Department dove into a Tampa canal head-first after they found a suspected shoplifter drowning inside.

Deputies’ body cameras caught the entire rescue. The suspect is heard screaming, then gasping for air. That’s when the deputies realized he was drowning and jumped in.

“We gotta go in there,” one deputy is heard saying.

Deputy John Riyad dove in first.

“By the time I got over to him, he was pretty much dead weight,” Riyad said.

Another deputy following him. The two struggled to get the man to shore.

They brought the suspect back to the shore, where multiple deputies administered CPR.

Deputies say the suspect tried ramming into their patrol cars while leading them on a chase. Then he dove into the canal.

That decision almost cost him his life. Those deputies he tried to evade turned into life-savers.

“It’s changing hats sometimes, you know?” Riyad said. “We’re chasing after him, we’re trying to get him into custody, but if it gets to a point where his life is in danger we need to change hats and try and save him as well.”

Officials say the suspect, who was previously arrested in 2014 for shoplifting, was hospitalized. Officials say he apologized and told them he ran because he didn’t have a license.

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