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Pinellas Deputy Injured During Struggle with Suspect

Stephen Kunkler | PInellas Sheriff | Arrests

The man was trying to get away from the deputy, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

LARGO – A Cape Coral man is accused of injuring a deputy during a struggle, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputy Richard Curry, 29, was treated at a hospital for a hand injury. Curry has been a Pinellas deputy since March 2016.

Stephen Anthony Kunkler, 32, was also taken to the hospital where he was treated and released. Kunkler, of 1335 NE 12th Place, Cape Coral, was charged with one count each of fleeing and eluding and of battery on a law enforcement officer, and four counts of resisting arrest with violence.

Curry patrol about 7:15 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 9) when he saw a 2004 Toyota SUV fail to make a complete stop for a posted stop sign at the intersection of 134th Avenue N and Trotter Road. Curry said he turned on his emergency lights to make a stop but the driver, later identified as Kunkler, did not stop and continued driving the speed limit northbound on Trotter Road. While following the SUV, Curry said he saw the driver moving around inside the SUV and reaching towards the glove box. The SUV pulled into a driveway and stopped at a residence located on Dryer Avenue in Largo.

Kunkler got out of the SUV but refused to show Curry his identification. Curry said Kunkler took a defensive posture towards him and began stepping backwards as if to flee from the scene. Curry said he gave Kunkler verbal commands but Kunkler refused to comply and continued backing away.

Curry used an electronic control device to strike Kunkler, but it was ineffective. Kunkler fled on foot and Curry chased him. When Curry grabbed Kunkler in the backyard of a nearby residence, he said that Kunkler struck him multiple times with his elbow, his feet, and his fists. Kunkler continued resisting and fighting with Curry for more than two minutes. At one point during the struggle, Curry said Kunkler tried reaching for his waist band.

Curry and other deputies who had arrived got control of Kunkler and handcuffed him.

After Kunkler was taken into custody, deputies said they found a 9 mm handgun on the ground under Kunkler’s body, near his waistband. Kunkler had a concealed weapons permit and was in legal possession of the firearm.

For information about the Pinellas sheriff, go to

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Pinellas Deputy Injured During Struggle with Suspect
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Pinellas Deputy Injured During Struggle with Suspect
The man was trying to get away from the deputy, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
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TB Reporter
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