Polk County MP injured by man with homemade explosive

No police officer fired any weapons.

DUNDEE, Fla – A Polk County MP was hospitalized after being injured by a homemade explosive device at a Dundee motel.

The MP responded to a disruption around 9:30 p.m. Sunday at the Economy Motor Lodge on US-27. Authorities on arrival were reported to a woman on a bench at the nearby motel, the Monticello Motel.

It was then that investigators said Marco Antonio Tolentino, 39, who had nothing to do with the initial disturbance call, rode a bicycle. A deputy tried to speak to Tolentino, who authorities said was evasive and told them he had no ID.

When asked if he had anything illegal on him, the sheriff’s office said Tolentino lifted his shirt to expose a metal pipe known as a zipper pistol or gun to improvised fire. As the MP and Tolentino searched for the weapon, law enforcement said it had collapsed and there was an “explosion”. A 12-gauge shotgun bullet hit the deputy’s hand and Tolentino’s hand and shoulder, investigators said.

Both men were hospitalized. They are stable and their injuries are not life threatening.

MPs say Tolentino later described the homemade device as “a tube” that he made himself and wears for protection. It has two pieces of interlocking metal pipe that can hold a single shotgun cartridge.

“When pressed, the device is designed to fire a single projectile,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “The device contained a single used 12-gauge cartridge (Winchester-00 buck shot). During a search of Tolentino’s room, other shotgun cartridges of a similar nature were located and recovered.

Tolentino does not have a concealed transport license, authorities say.

Tolentino was charged with attempted murder, possession or discharge of a destructive device, resisting an officer with violence, carrying a concealed weapon and providing false information to a law enforcement officer.

No deputy fired any weapons.

The state attorney’s office has been alerted, which is standard protocol in such situations.

There will be three independent investigations: a criminal investigation by the sheriff’s office, an internal administrative investigation, and a separate review by the state attorney’s office.

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