Fla. deputy fired for not reporting gun discharge during struggle with another deputy
Deputy Kevonn Mabon had struggled with a suicidal deputy and left the deputy with access to several firearms
By Natalie Weber
Tampa Bay Times
PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputy has been terminated after he fired a gun while intervening in an incident involving another deputy that he should have reported to law enforcement, agency officials said.
Deputy Kevonn Mabon was terminated on March 6 after an incident in Hillsborough County that occurred last year.
In April 2022, Mabon went to the residence of another Pinellas deputy who was intoxicated and arguing over car keys with her spouse, the sheriff’s office said. Mabon was off-duty at the time.
The deputy barricaded herself in a bedroom closet with a Glock .45 caliber handgun she had been issued by the sheriff’s office, according to an internal affairs summary. The woman texted her spouse a picture of herself with the gun and said she was going to die by suicide, according to the sheriff’s office.
Mabon asked the deputy to open the closet door, but she refused, and Mabon kicked the door open. Mabon then struggled with the deputy for control of the gun, the internal affairs report states.
During the struggle, Mabon removed the gun’s magazine and tried to “rack the slide” but was not able to get the round from the chamber, according to internal affairs documents. Mabon pulled the gun’s trigger, firing through a closet wall and into an adjoining residence, the sheriff’s office said.
The woman stopped struggling for the gun, as it was empty, and Mabon took it from her. Mabon did not go to the next residence to make sure that no one had been injured or killed, the sheriff’s office said. He took the woman to his home and did not notify law enforcement of what happened.
Later that day, Mabon took the woman back to her home “where she had access to several firearms, including the Glock .45 caliber handgun and her AR-15 rifle,” according to internal affairs documents. The woman continued to work at the sheriff’s office without undergoing a mental health evaluation, the documents say.
The sheriff’s office opened an internal affairs investigation after the woman’s spouse filed a complaint with the agency in November.
During the internal affairs investigation, Mabon said if he had been on duty and the incident had involved a civilian, he would have gotten her mental health treatment under the state’s Baker Act, according to the sheriff’s office. Mabon said he also asked the woman’s spouse to check on the neighbors after the gun was fired, but did not follow up, according to the internal affairs case.
The Baker Act allows for the temporary and involuntary commitment of someone who poses an immediate danger to themselves or others due to mental illness.
“(Mabon’s) knowing and intentional decision to not notify either the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office and/or the Pinellas County Sheriffs Office about the incident, so that appropriate law enforcement action could be taken, meant the former member was not Baker Acted or provided appropriate mental health services,” documents from the internal affairs investigation read. “It also meant no police report was made, and nobody ever checked to see what happened to the round (Mabon) fired.”
The woman resigned from the sheriff’s office while under investigation. Both she and Mabon declined interview requests. The woman was hired in 2018 and Mabon joined the sheriff’s office in 2020.
“Where do you stop? His conduct was egregious,” Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said in a phone interview with the Tampa Bay Times.
Gualtieri said supervisors keep an eye on deputies’ wellbeing and that the agency offers everything from employee assistance programs to a free mental health program for first responders.
“We offer money, help and services,” Gualtieri said. “And we want you to get help.”
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