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Man who took his own life outside Tampa FDOT building had prior disputes with state, local agencies

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) says it was an engineering consultant who took his own life after threatening to drive into the Florida Department of Transportation’s office building in.

Multiple guns and gas tanks were found last Wednesday inside a car belonging to Gregory Parsons, 61. The Tampa Police Department said the threats prompted a massive police presence and evacuations of FDOT’s office, as well as the Florida Highway Patrol’s nearby office on McKinley Drive.

The incident began unfolding at around 3:30 p.m. on April 17 at 11201 McKinley Drive. Officers said they responded after FDOT staff received a call from Parsons threatening to drive his car into the building.

“He said that he was going to drive his vehicle in, he said he had a bomb, and he said he was going to cause harm,” Chief Lee Bercaw said.

Officials said he also told the staff that he had a bomb and was planning on hurting people.

Parsons was found inside a blue vehicle in the parking lot, and authorities said he pointed a gun at his head as soon as responding officers approached. Tampa police tried to talk with him, but they said he shot himself.

After that, the officers found suspicious items, including wires, inside the car. The Tampa Police Bomb Team assessed the situation and said they found multiple guns, high-powered magazines and gas tanks inside the car.

“It’s clear the subject was here to cause harm,” Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw said.

It appears the incident wasn’t random. Based on numerous videos and posts on Parsons’ website and YouTube channel, he had ongoing hostilities towards FDOT and the Pasco County Metropolitan Planning Board.

Gregory Parsons speaks at a Pasco County MPO meeting in February 2023. Source: Pasco Metropolitan Planning Organization/YouTube

According to Parsons’ website, he described himself as a transportation engineering consultant with decades of experience. He said he also invented the “Parallel Flow Intersection.”

In February 2023, Parsons presented his plan at the . Later on in the meeting, there was a disruption in the audience during a presentation by FDOT, and he was then removed from the meeting. An official with FDOT addressed Parsons’ plan and presentation.

“He’s a smart guy,” FDOT District 7 Advisor David Gwynn said. “I give him a lot of credit. He invented a concept, and in a sterile, computerized model environment, it looks like it could work in some ways, but it’s never been used anywhere.”

Parsons also shared more than a dozen videos on , blasting FDOT and the MPO. He shared a video in response to that meeting, where he elaborated on his grievances.

“They wait seven years and two studies,” Parsons said in the video. “I spent thousands of hours, thousands of dollars, spent thousands of miles over a seven-year period, thinking that the PFI is going to get honest consideration, and it never was.”

The most recent video Parsons posted to his YouTube channel was about a month before the incident at the FDOT office building.

FDLE is now investigating the incident.