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Florida mayor arrested after deputies shot at during raid on his home

"He shot our members. He’s lucky he’s not dead," said the Pasco County sheriff.

A Florida mayor, who is suspected of practicing medicine without a license, was charged with two counts of attempted homicide Thursday after shooting at deputies who were serving a search warrant at his home, police said.

Dale Glen Massad, mayor of Port Richey, fired two rounds at Pasco County Sheriff SWAT team members after they announced themselves while approaching his house Thursday morning, said Sheriff Chris Nocco.

He said his office used the SWAT team to serve the warrant because Massad, 68, is a known drug-user and weapons-owner with a history of violence.

"We knew this was going to be a very dangerous situation, which it did turn out to be," Nocco said.

When the officers saw that Massad had a gun, they told him to drop the weapon; he then fired, Nocco said.

No officers were injured or struck.

"He shot our members," Nocco said. "He’s lucky he’s not dead."

Image: Dale Massad
Dale Massad

Massad surrendered and was arrested shortly after shooting at the deputies, according to police.

The arrest was the result of a four-month investigation that uncovered Massad, who lost his medical license in 1992, was allegedly practicing medicine out of his home, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

He was booked on charges of practicing medicine without a license Thursday and later hit with the attempted homicide charges, according to an arrest report.

"No one is above the law," said Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. "My office will work with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute any crime within our jurisdiction regardless of the target’s political position or economic status."

Massad was elected mayor of Port Richey, a city north of Tampa with about 2,600 residents, in a special election in 2015.

He was recently arrested on domestic violence charges, Nocco said. The mayor and his live-in girlfriend have had numerous brushes with the law over the years, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

"When you mention his name, the reputation isn’t the greatest," Nocco said. "People are probably thinking to themselves, 'well it’s about time.'"

It's unclear if Massad has a lawyer. Requests for comment from the Port Richey mayor's office were not returned.