Ryan Centofanti, whose breath test produced readings of .196 and .178 percent in breath-alcohol volume after he was arrested for drunk driving, also faces a felony charge for allegedly firing an AR-15-type rifle repeatedly, and seemingly at random, as he drove down State Road A1A from Beverly Beach into Flagler Beach early this morning (Jan. 17). No one was reported hurt. The legal limit for driving is 0.08 percent.
Centofanti, 35, who told authorities that he worked as a paramedic in Volusia County and owns a gun business, attributed the flashes from his car that witnesses and a police officer saw to the light flashing on his phone when he gets a text. A police officer told him he has the same phone, and that it “did not light up A1A when it rang.”
Calls to 911 were reported a little after 2:30 a.m. in reference to the incident in the area of Island Estates. A caller reported hearing shots in the backyard. Seconds later another caller said shots had been fired in the 3500 block of North Oceanshore Boulevard, according Centofanti’s arrest report. Yet another caller reported seeing a vehicle drive by and “flashes” coming from the vehicle.
A Flagler Beach police officer was positioned in the 2100 block of North Oceanshore when he saw the black Chevrolet SUV that turned out to be Centofanti’s cross into the city.
“I turned around on the vehicle, that was several blocks south of my location moving at a fast pace,” the officer reported. “I attempted to catch up to the vehicle, at which time I observed several flashes emitting out of the driver side window. I could not identify what the flashes were at that time; however, as I got closer and the flashes continued I could through my training and experience identify the flashes as muzzle flash from a firearm.” Centofanti then made a right on North 16th Street where the officer activated the patrol car’s emergency lights and executed a traffic stop. Centofanti pulled over.
The officer drew his Glock sidearm and approached the vehicle, with another officer at the scene, ordering Centofanti out of the SUV. Centofanti said he was having trouble hearing orders. The two officers began shouting their orders to have him kneel, then secured. Centofanti’s hearing would become an issue officers and, later, sheriff’s deputies would keep track of, as they suspected that he had trouble hearing at first possibly because of the noise of the rifle firing rounds from the car moments earlier. At the county jail later, Centofanti had trouble hearing.
As officers opened the doors of the vehicle, “a strong odor of what I identified through my training and experience as burnt gun powder” emanated, according to the arrest report. “I also was able to observe several spent .223 caliber shell casing throughout the vehicle.” The “AR-15 type rifle” was in the backseat of the vehicle. As a sergeant removed the weapon for safety reasons, “he described the weapon as being very hot and believed the gun was used recently,” the report states. “It should be noted that the interior temperature of the car was not hot and the A/C dial of the vehicle was approximately half in the heat area. This temperature would not be hot enough to make the firearm feel as hot as it did.”
The sheriff’s office was to take over the investigation since it had been reported in the unincorporated area of the county, though Flagler Beach police filled out a detailed report.
After hearing and waiving his Miranda warning, Centofanti said he didn’t know why there’d been reports of flashes from his car and gave his explanation about the text signal. He explained the shell casings by saying he was in firearm sales. As for the smell of gunpowder, he said he always smelled that way. He also claimed to have always had a hearing problem, though it was not documented at his job as a paramedic. When law enforcement contacted Volusia County Emergency Medical Service to verify his employment, the agency could not confirm that he worked there, and requested his credentials back. (He is not an employee at AdventHealth Palm Coast, either.)
Officers recovered 21 spent shell casings from within the vehicle, some of them on the driver’s side floor board, one under the driver’s seat, some under the front passenger seat, and so on.
Centofanti, a deputy who conducted his field sobriety tests reported, observed that “he had an odor of an alcoholic beverage admitting from his person/breath, watery bloodshot eyes and slurred speech.” Centofanti attributed his slurred speech to his hearing conditions. He then missed to adequately perform most parts of the exercises. The deputy located one receipt on Centofanti from from Finn’s Beachside Pub for a $10 Bazel Haydens on the rocks.
At the county jail, Centofanti was under observation for 20 minutes, and just after 8:25 a.m., or four hours after he was pulled over, he was administered the breath alcohol concentration test.
Centofanti, of 166 North Starling Drive in Palm Coast, was booked at the county jail on a misdemeanor charge of drunk driving and a felony charge of discharging a firearm from a vehicle. He remained at the jail this morning on $6,000 bond.