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‘He Did Not Want to Get Into Trouble’: Florida Sheriff’s Employee Confesses to Lying About Being Carjacked By Two Black Men After Shooting Himself in the Leg; Now Faces Charges

A former telecommunicator in the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office fabricated a story about being shot by two Black men in order to deceive authorities about how he was shot in his leg.

The former law enforcement worker actually shot himself and then falsely claimed that he was wounded during a carjacking incident last month.

Dakotah Wood (Photo: Hernando County Sheriff’s Office)

After he confessed to lying, the 21-year-old, a white man named Dakotah Wood, was charged with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, false reports of the commission of crimes, and discharging a firearm in public or residential property.

Sheriff Al Nienhuis said that incidents like this are “relatively rare” before calling Wood’s case “unfortunate” and “unpleasant.”

“My administration, however, has a very public reputation of holding my people accountable for their actions,” Nienhuis said. “The public can be confident that when an employee does something of this nature, they will forfeit their ability to be associated with the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.”

A bond of $7,000 was set for Wood by authorities. He has since resigned from his position in the sheriff’s office.

Wood called HCSO deputies on June 30 to report that he had been shot in the thigh after two African-American men attempted to steal his car while he was in it, according to a media release.

He told the officers that the shooter threatened to kill him and after blasting at him five times, ”collected the shell casing prior to fleeing the area on foot.”

Detectives would later interview Wood while he was in the hospital, where he confessed to making up the original story.

“Wood said he drove to Linda Pedersen Park because he was upset over issues he was having with his girlfriend,” the sheriff’s report read. “Wood said he was ‘playing’ with his firearm in his vehicle when the firearm accidentally discharged, hitting him in the thigh.”

The officers added, “Wood said he made up the story about the attempted carjacking because he did not want to get into trouble.”

Wood may have thought playing the race card was a smart idea to ignite underlying prejudice in the community. Hernando County is predominately white, with 88.6 percent of its residents saying they have European ancestry and only 6.7 percent saying they are Black, according to the most recent U.S. Census. It also has an extremely stark history of racial prejudice.

The Hernando Sun noted historically the area had “the third most lynchings of any county in the United States by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI)” between the years 1880 to 1940.

Many maintain the racial divide still exists, a fact that may have colored why Wood fabricated his attack story.

Wood was able to pay his bond and was released from jail on July 1.

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