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PALM HARBOR — A deputy accidentally shot and wounded a woman during a confrontation with her flare gun-wielding boyfriend on Monday, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputy Joseph Wodraska was at ground-level when the agency said he opened fire on Joshua D’Anastasio above, as he stood on a second-floor apartment balcony. The deputy believed D’Anastasio was about to shoot a neighbor with what appeared to be a handgun, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
D’Anastasio actually fired a flare gun at his neighbor, the agency said. The deputy shot at D’Anastasio from the ground floor, missing him but shattered the sliding glass door behind him.
Inside the apartment, deputies said 42-year-old Gwen Stubbs suffered a gunshot wounded to her left arm. She was taken to a hospital while her boyfriend was arrested.
D’Anastasio, 39, faces a charge of aggravated battery with a firearm.
The incident started Monday morning at Stillwater Palms Apartments at 2480 Cypress Pond Road. A woman reported that the windows to her Cadillac had been broken while in the parking lot. D’Anastasio denied knowing anything about the damage, the agency said.
The deputy returned when the woman said she and her boyfriend saw D’Anastasio "acting suspiciously and hiding a blunt object in the dumpster near their apartment," the Sheriff’s Office said.
From his second floor balcony, the agency said D’Anastasio was on his balcony yelling down at the deputy as he spoke to the Cadillac owner. Then D’Anastasio got into an argument with her boyfriend, who was on the adjacent balcony.
D’Anastasio told the boyfriend "he had something for him," according to the Sheriff’s Office, walked into his apartment and came back out with what the deputy thought was a firearm. The deputy saw the muzzle flash and heard it go off as it was leveled at the boyfriend on the other balcony.
The boyfriend was not injured by the flare gun and D’Anastasio was not wounded by the deputy. Sheriff’s detectives said Wodraska never saw Stubbs because she was behind the sliding glass door at the time. The deputy was placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
D’Anastasio was arrested without incident.