ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Thursday it’s assisting a Tampa Bay area law enforcement agency in the potential terrorism activity of a 21-year-old man who was arrested after his father was taken to a hospital due to suspicious fumes in the family home.
Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said during a news conference there is no indication that Sherif Elganainy has terrorist ties. But he said that after chemicals were found in Elganainy’s home and that he tried to wrestle a gun away from a deputy, all leads are being pursued. Two deputies received minor injuries when attempting to subdue Elganainy.
“This is an extremely dangerous individual,” Nocco said. “This person had the potential to do bad things.”
The incident began at the family’s home in New Port Richey, a suburb some 30 miles north of downtown Tampa.
Paramedics were called to the home Wednesday morning after Elganainy’s father became unresponsive. After the father was taken to a hospital, his mother called deputies to ask them to check out suspicious fumes that she said may have contributed to her husband’s collapse. She also told deputies that when her son gets angry, he says he’s a “terrorist and I’m part of ISIS,” Nocco said.
Officers also found suspicious chemicals in Elganainy’s bedroom, according to the sheriff’s office, although Nocco wouldn’t say what the chemicals were. In addition to the Pasco Sheriff’s Office and the FBI, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Department of Homeland Security and the Hillsborough County bomb squad have been involved in the investigation.
When deputies tried to arrest Elganainy, he became violent, Nocco said. During the news conference, he showed a body cam video from one of the deputies. It included a deputy yelling “my gun,” when Elganainy tried to grab it.
Nocco said the deputy’s weapon was in a secured holster and the man couldn’t get it out of the holster. One deputy’s hand was broken and another was hit in the head during the melee.
Nocco said Elganainy was previously arrested in Osceola County on domestic battery and strangulation charges and has a lengthy juvenile criminal record.
Elganainy also faces two charges of domestic battery for pushing his parents earlier in the day, the sheriff’s office said.
Elganainy is being held at the county’s jail without bond and faces two counts of domestic battery, resisting arrest with violence, battery on a law enforcement officer and aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer. More charges could be added. It’s unknown whether he’s retained an attorney.
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