Anthony Petrillo, a 29-year-old resident of Avocado Boulevard in the Mondex, is facing three felony charges after an encounter with sheriff’s deputies that allegedly turned violent when he attempted to evade getting handcuffed and threw a punch at a deputy Friday evening in Palm Coast’s B Section.
Not long before, Petrillo had a confrontation with a homeowner on Bird of Paradise Drive that involved allegation that he threatened the homeowner with a knife. Petrillo claims the homeowner threatened him with a gun.
It all started when the homeowner and his family drove home that evening, only to find Petrillo parked in the driveway. A contractor had been at the house, but had left 45 minutes earlier. The contractor told deputies that he had fired Petrillo earlier that week but agreed to let him work an hour on Friday. As far as the contractor knew, Petrillo had left with the rest of the work crew. In fact, he’d stayed behind.
The 45-year-old homeowner asked him what he was doing there. “Working,” Petrillo told him. The homeowner told him to leave. An argument followed. According to the homeowner, Petrillo pulled a 4-inch knife, threatening the homeowner, who walked back to his car. His wife and children were in the car. He told them to call 911 and continued to tell Petrillo to get in his car and leave, which he finally did. Nothing looked out of place in the house. The homeowner would later tell deputies he never took his gun out of the car.
Another deputy located Petrillo’s car driving along Belle Terre and executed a felony stop. Petrillo slowed and stopped on the road immediately. When a deputy gave him verbal commands through a PA system to show his hands, Petrillo appeared “visibly irate and would not comply.” He first opened his driver’s side door, looked back, then slammed the door, according to a video of the encounter.
He then turned to the deputy through the window and yelled, seemingly upset that he’d been pulled over for no reason. At one point he made “a quick and overt move to grab something from the lower door panel of the open driver side door,” according to the report. He was reaching for a lighter. He took it and lit a cigarette.
“Just come down, keep your hands where I can see–” the deputy tells him, but Petrillo keeps yelling and waving his arms. “Relax,” the deputy tells him. “Listen, we’ll get to the bottom of it, just–just stop.”
Petrillo doesn’t. He throws his arms up in the air then pushes back into his seat. The deputy again patiently tells him simply to put his hands out the window and relax. Petrillo stays in his seat, moving around. A minute or so later additional deputies have arrived and are giving him directions.
Petrillo jumps out of his car, a cigarette dangling from his mouth, and yells, gesturing at himself as if to say he was unarmed.
One of the deputies moved closer to him to grab and handcuff him. Petrillo agreed to walk back (while facing forward) toward the deputies, doing so briskly while still yelling and having a conversation with himself. But when Petrillo saw the handcuffs, he tried to run away, slipped on the wet pavement and lost his footing, according to the report (and the video). The deputy was nearly on him when Petrillo stood up, “squared up to me and threw two closed fist punches at me,” according to the deputy’s account. The deputy diverted the strike but the punches “struck me in the abdomen and chest area of my body armor and knocked off my Axon body camera.
A few steps later, in the middle of Belle Terre, the deputy catches up to him and throws him to the ground, taking control with help from the second deputy. Petrillo protests but before long is handcuffed. “10-4, subject detained,” the dispatcher is heard saying on the dashcam. “It should be noted that throughout the encounter with both law enforcement deputies and paramedics, Anthony Petrillo was irate, irrational, uncooperative and combative,” the arrest report notes, a statement corroborated by the video footage. “He is believed to have been under the influence of some unknown narcotic.” (Deputies found two pocket knives and “narcotics paraphernalia including
baggies with residue in them and used syringes,” a sheriff’s release states.)
Paramedics provided treatment for minor abrasions.
Petrillo told deputies the work crew had left the house on Bird of Paradise. He’d stayed behind to clean his car when the homeowner arrived and confronted him. He claims the homeowner “went to grab him.”
“I have a knife in the car, get out of here,” Petrillo told him, at which point he claims the homeowner took his gun out of its sleeve. That’s when Petrillo left the scene. “Petrillo became defensive when asked why he didn’t get in the car and leave when the verbal altercation initially started, before anything further happened,” the arrest report states.
The confrontation with deputies aggravated the charges he faces. He was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, battery on a law enforcement officer, and resisting arrest with violence. He was booked at the Flagler County jail on $55,000 bond.
“If you attack a Deputy Sheriff you are going to still go to jail but with more charges,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “These are the types of unknowns that law enforcement deals with on a daily basis. You never know how someone will respond to an encounter with law enforcement and our deputies must be prepared for anything. Deputies did a great job of reading his attitude and responding as quickly and safely as possible while protecting themselves and not injuring the suspect.”