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HCSO Finally Releases Statement into Former Employee's Concocted Carjacking, Shooting Story Involving "Two Black Men"

SPRING HILL – A week after the incident occurred, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office released a statement on the now-former employee who claimed two black men shot him during a carjacking at Linda Pedersen Park.

R News first broke the story on July 1st, after sources reported that 21-year-old Dakotah Wayne Wood, a former dispatcher for the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, fabricated a botched carjacking attempt.

According to a statement provided by officials today, at approximately 3:30 a.m., Hernando County Sheriff's deputies responded to the area of Shoal Line Boulevard and Cortez Boulevard in reference to an attempted carjacking/shooting.

Officials say, while Wood was at Linda Pedersen Park, two unknown black males attempted to steal his vehicle. Wood said the men displayed a firearm and made a threat to kill him before shooting him in the thigh. Wood said the shooter collected the shell casing prior to fleeing the area on foot. After being shot, Wood said he obtained his personal firearm and fired approximately five rounds in self-defense. Wood further advised he believed he hit one of the suspects several times.

Following the shooting, Wood advised he relocated from the park to the intersection of Cortez Boulevard and Shoal Line Boulevard to create a safe distance from the suspects.

Wood was transported from the scene to an area hospital for treatment of his gunshot wound.

During an interview with Detectives at the hospital, Wood advised that he fabricated his original story because he was upset over issues he was having with his girlfriend. Wood said he was "playing" with his firearm in his vehicle when the firearm accidentally discharged, hitting him in the thigh. Wood said he made up the story about the attempted carjacking because he did not want to get into trouble.

Wood was placed under arrest from his hospital bed and charged with Tampering with or Fabricating Physical Evidence, False Reports of Commission of Crimes, and Discharging a Firearm in Public or Residential Property. Wood's bond was set at $7,000.

Officials acknowledged that Wood worked as a telecommunicator at the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, but stated he resigned during the investigation.

Sheriff Al Nienhuis said, "These types of situations are relatively rare, unfortunate, and unpleasant. My administration, however, has a very public reputation of holding my people accountable for their actions. The public can be confident that when an employee does something of this nature, they will forfeit their ability to be associated with the Hernando County Sheriff's Office."

R News Original Report:

SPRING HILL – A Hernando County Sheriff's Office employee is in hot water, after an incident early Friday morning landed him behind bars.

Yesterday, R News reported that an alleged armed carjacking occurred at Linda Pedersen Park around 3:00 a.m. Friday morning. Sources say, the victim claimed that two black males held him at gunpoint and attempted to steal his car. The victim claimed he was shot by one of the suspects in the thigh, before they fled the scene. The victim was transported to a nearby trauma center for treatment. A massive search for two armed suspects began, but the focus of the investigation quickly shifted towards the victim.

Today, R News received information from sources who say the alleged victim, 21-year-old Dakotah Wayne Wood, fabricated the carjacking story, and that he actually shot himself.

Around 8:00 p.m. last night, Wood was formally charged from his hospital bedside on charges of Tampering, Destroying, or Fabricating Evidence. Making False Reports of a Crime, and Firing a Weapon on Public Property. Wood will have to post a $7,000 bond once he is discharged from the hospital.

Wood is currently employed at the Hernando County Sheriff's Office as a dispatcher, and sources say he is in the process of becoming a sworn officer. Earlier this year, Wood received a Field Training Officer Certificate from Sheriff Al Nienhuis.

It is unknown why Wood was in the park that early in the morning, but Linda Pedersen Park is known as a "gay cruising" area for anonymous sexual encounters.

The Sheriff's Office has not commented on the arrest.


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