NEW PORT RICHEY — A man who fired several rounds from an assault rifle at deputies Friday night in New Port Richey gave authorities no choice but to shoot him, according to Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco.
“This individual, suspect, chose every action; we had to react to his actions,” Nocco said during a news conference Monday, “and unfortunately for him, it ended in his death.”
A deputy was called to 9518 Marley Ave. at 8:15 p.m. Friday after Robert William Kaminski threatened to kill his wife, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.
Once the deputy arrived, the wife, who was with her mother and a friend, was attempting to pack her belongings and leave the home. At that point, Kaminski arrived at the home, investigators said.
The deputy approached Kaminski, who was still sitting in the driver’s seat of his car, in an attempt to calm him. The deputy noticed a gun in the passenger seat, Detective Michael Rosa said.
When he was ordered to get out of the car, Kaminski drove the car into the driveway and attempted to shoot the deputy with the gun, but it jammed, Rosa said. Kaminski then fled into the home.
“The deputy heard a clicking sound and was going to return fire, (but) at the same time, the door opened up and he observed the wife and the mother-in-law standing there, so he did not fire,” Rosa said. “He took cover behind a vehicle.”
The three women left the home, while Kaminski entered and walked out a back door and into the carport, investigators said.
He then began firing with an AK-47 at two deputies behind a patrol car in front of the home, investigators said.
Kaminski, 62, was shot by deputies who had surrounded the home about 11:35 p.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
“This person left his house and went on the hunt,” SWAT team Commander and Chief of Forensics James Steffans said.
Nocco said the incident could have been related to a mental health issue. Kaminski had been battling bipolar disorder and manic depression for at least 10 years, Nocco said. The family told authorities he stopped taking his medication in December 2012 and had been erratic in his behavior since then.
Authorities said Kaminski had a concealed weapons license and owned a number of guns which were inside the home.
“The guns aren’t dangerous sitting on the table,” Nocco said, directing his attention to the AK-47 and Glock handgun on the table in front of him. “It’s dangerous (in the hands of a person) that is mentally unstable.”
Two deputies were transported to a local hospital to treat what was believed to be shrapnel wounds.
Investigators said during the exchange of gunfire, one of Kaminski’s bullets traveled through the bedroom window of the home across the street. That room is typically where two kids sleep, Steffans said.
“Being the father that I am… I can only imagine with all that sheriff activity, those kids would be looking out that window to see what was going on,” Steffans said.
“Thankfully those citizens heeded the warning (to evacuate), otherwise this story would be even more tragic.”