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Armed bank burglar shot by Martin County deputy

Deputy who shot burglar ID'd
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Posted at 9:24 AM, Jul 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-05 05:17:11-04

UPDATE: The Martin County Sheriff’s Deputy involved in this morning’s shooting of the armed bank burglar is Deputy Sheriff Michael McMahan.  

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A mask with a bullet hole in it sits on the pavement Monday outside the Chase Bank branch in Jensen Beach.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder says 46 year-old Gerard Bellafiore of Dania Beach, was wearing it as he used a saw to break into the night deposit box.

“You see the night deposits have that serrated metal flap.  He was cutting into that," said Sheriff Snyder.

A deputy was on scene within minutes of getting the call and moments later, fired his gun.

Snyder says the suspect threatened his deputy with a fishing gaff.  “Which is just a large fiberglass object with a big curved steel hook on it.”

The suspect got back in his car.  There were multiple bullet holes in the windshield and the side window is also blown out.  The car hit a tree just a few feet from the edge of the bank property.

Bellafiore is in stable condition at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center.

The deputy, a 13-year veteran of the Miami-Dade police department before recently joining the sheriff’s office, was unhurt. The sheriff's office has not yet released his name.

“The deputy clear felt that his life was in jeopardy and he did what he’s trained to do and that’s use deadly force to protect himself," said Sheriff Snyder.

Bellafiore was sentenced back in 2009 as part of a burglary ring that hit Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade county banks where the crooks used the same techniques to steal money from deposit boxes.

EARLIER STORY: 

The Martin County Sheriff's Office said a deputy was forced to shoot a burglary suspect early Monday morning after being attacked with a "large fishing gaff." 

RELATED: More photos here

The incident occurred just after 6 a.m. at a Chase bank located at 2998 NW Federal Hwy. in Jensen Beach.

Sheriff William Snyder said they were alerted that a bank burglary was in progress.

Snyder said the masked suspect used a metal-cutting device to slice open the door of the night deposit box and then used the fishing gaff to hook receipts.

Deputies arrived at the scene at 6:14 a.m. and shots were fired after Snyder said one of the deputies was attacked by the suspect, identified as Gerard Bellafiore, 47, of Dania Beach, Fla. 

Bellafiore was transported to Longwood Hospital in stable condition after being shot multiple times by the deputy.

Snyder said Bellafiore has an extensive criminal history and convicted multiple times of several similar types of burglaries in South Florida.

The deputy involved in the shooting was identified as Deputy Sheriff Michael McMahan.

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