Polk County officials said a deputy lost two fingers when a suspect’s homemade gun exploded outside a motel.
It all happened at the Economy Motor Lodge at 9:30 p.m. Sunday when deputies were directed to a woman sitting on a bench at a motel right next door called the Monticello Motel.
During this time, another deputy arrived as backup and 39-year-old Marco Antonio Tolentino rode up on his bicycle.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said, “The deputy began interacting with Tolentino, who was being evasive about who he was and said he did not have identification. During the interaction, the deputy asked the suspect if he had anything illegal on him.”
Tolentino lifted his shirt and showed a metal pipe that ended up being a homemade gun. He told the deputy it was to protect him but it was extremely predominate and extended from his right pocket and upwards to the abdomen under the shirt.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said, “The suspect reached for the pipe and the deputy stopped him; telling him that he would retrieve the item. At this point, the deputy was unsure what the item was, but believed it was some sort of weapon based on the interaction.”
That’s when both of them reached for the weapon at the same time as the suspect also tried to pull away from the Polk County deputy.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said, “At that time, the pipe (which is also known as a zip gun or improvised firearm) came apart as it was pulled from the pocket and then a “blast” went off,” the agency reported, adding that the device fired a 12-gauge shotgun buckshot round. The single-round struck the deputy’s hand and hit the suspect’s hand and shoulder.”