Man arrested after shooting at Coast Guard from dinghy

Daniel Szabo. Courtesy of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

Daniel Szabo. Courtesy of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

By Brett Gillin

Boating and alcohol can be a dangerous combination. Add a firearm to the mix, and ratchet up the alcohol consumption a bit, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Perhaps no one knows this more than Daniel Szabo, who was arrested last week after apparently going on a drunken joyride in his dinghy which included not only crashing into mangroves, but also opening fire on the Coast Guard.

According to WPTV.com, Daniel Szabo, a 40-year-old man out of Key Largo, Florida, was apparently drunkenly waving a gun over his head at a local marina late Friday night. Witnesses called the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office to report Szabo as a danger to himself and others. Police were dispatched, but by the time they arrived to the arena, the situation had changed.

Witnesses say that Szabo, who seemed extremely intoxicated, held the weapon to his head just before getting into his dinghy and taking off, according to Local 10. When the Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies found that Szabo had taken off into the ocean, they called the U.S. Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to assist in apprehending him.

When the Coast Guard caught up with Szabo and began attempting to apprehend him, he allegedly crashed his dinghy into some mangroves. Then, moments later, Szabo began firing his gun at the Coast Guard vessel according to KeysNet. After shooting at the Coast Guard, Szabo was able to free his dinghy just long enough to steer it toward the Coast Guard vessel and ram into them.

Officers continued trying to subdue Szabo and order him to surrender. Then, according to the police report, Szabo yelled “Shoot Me” at the officers, apparently attempting to commit a version of ‘suicide by cop.’ The Coast Guard wouldn’t be baited into Szabo’s request, however, as they were able to arrest the man without injuring him.

Szabo is currently behind bars on charges of felony fleeing and eluding. The Coast Guard is looking to pursue federal charges against Szabo as well.

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