By Rachel Brown Hackney
Suspect blames medications for inducing hallucinations
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a 69-year-old Siesta Key resident after he allegedly fired multiple bullets out of his Siesta Isles home, the office has reported.
The suspect, Thomas Kavanaugh Dudenhoeffer, told an officer he was firing at people believed to be breaking into his house. Dudenhoeffer blamed his hallucinations on medication he had taken, the Sheriff’s Office report says.
He faces two counts of Shooting into a Dwelling, a Sheriff’s Office news release adds. He was being held in jail on $15,000 bond. His Corrections Division record identifies him as being retired. His arraignment is set for Aug. 24.
Deputies initially responded to the 1000 block of Contento Street at 2:12 p.m. on July 18 after receiving a report of a shooting, the news release says. “The complainant utilized the text-to-911 service” offered by the Sheriff’s Office while hiding from the suspect, the release adds.
Contento Street is on a canal in the Siesta Isles neighborhood, which is east of Siesta Public Beach.
After deputies “established a perimeter,” the report points out, Sgt. Jason Mruczek, leader of the Sheriff’s Office’s substation on Siesta Key, and Sgt. X. Beorlegui were approaching the house when they heard one gunshot inside.
Officers found Dudenhoeffer in the master bedroom and quickly took him into custody “without incident,” the news release says.
Deputies found two bullet holes in a window on the north side of the residence, the report notes. That window faces a house in the 5400 block of Shadow Lawn Drive, the report adds. The Shadow Lawn house is about 200 feet away from the Contento Street residence, the report points out.
Deputies found another bullet hole in a hurricane window on the west side of the Contento Street home, the report says. That window faces the adjacent dwelling.
The complainant told officers that she was in the master bedroom when Dudenhoeffer “retrieved a handgun from an end table” and left the room, the report says. The complainant added that “she heard approximately 10 to 15 gunshots,” the report notes. She heard three more gunshots, she told officers, as she was texting 911 for assistance.
“Based on witness statements and forensic analysis, detectives believe Dudenhoeffer fired between 10 and 15 rounds inside the home,” using a 9mm handgun, the news release says.
“Dudenhoeffer admitted to firing the weapon and attributed the crime to hallucinations,” the release adds.
During an interview with a detective, the report says, Dudenhoeffer explained that he had taken two types of prescription medication for emphysema. He told the detective he fired the gun in the kitchen, another bedroom and the laundry room, the report adds.
The Sheriff’s Office is among one of the few agencies in the state of Florida to offer text-to-911 services, the release points out. The office “is using this opportunity to remind and encourage residents and visitors to utilize text-to-911 if they are in trouble and unable to get safely to a telephone.”
At this time, however, the release continues, the Sheriff’s Office Public Safety Communications Center is not able to receive photos and videos.
The release adds that members of the public are reminded to “call if you can; text if you can’t.”