LAKELAND, Florida — Police fired 110 rounds at a single suspect and an autopsy report showed that 68 of those shots found their intended target. Nine SWAT team members unloaded their guns into the person suspected of shooting one deputy sheriff and ambushing and killing a second along with his police dog. Why did police fire so many shots? Well, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd had this to say about it,
“I suspect the only reason that 110 rounds were fired was because that’s all the ammunition they had.”
I suspect he’s right.
It all began just before noon on September 28, 2006, when a rented Dodge Stratus, with Kentucky license plates, was pulled over for speeding along Florida’s I-4. The driver claimed he didn’t have his driver’s license with him and instead produced a Florida Identification Card. This and the driver’s suspicious behavior caused Polk County Deputy Sheriff Douglas Speirs to call for backup. When the driver asked if he was going to jail, the Deputy Speirs told the driver, “I doubt we’ll put you in jail.” That, apparently, wasn’t what the driver wanted to hear, and when the chance arose he bolted off into the woods. As soon as Deputy Speirs saw the driver making for the woods, he took off after him. Because the brush in the area was so heavy, the deputy decided, wisely enough, to return to his patrol car and wait for his backup to arrive. Deputy Sheriff Matt Williams arrived on the scene with his K-9, “Diogi.” The two deputies decided that Deputy Speirs would make his way through the brush to a ridge above the woods as Deputy Williams proceeded directly into the woods with his K-9 counter-part. What neither deputy knew was that driver was armed and lying in wait in the brush ready to ambush them. As Deputy Williams approached the driver’s hiding place, the driver took aim and fired at the deputy, who probably never knew what hit him. Stuck several times, Deputy Williams went down. It was then that his K-9 charged after the driver and was shot in the chest himself. The driver then walked over to the injured officer and shot him twice in the head. Both the deputy and his K-9 died at the scene. Deputy Speirs, hearing the gun shots, ran towards the site of the ambush. Seeing the driver, now turned gunman, fleeing, he ordered him to stop and when he didn’t comply, the deputy fired at him but missed. The driver again hid himself in the thick woods, and as Deputy Speirs approached his location the driver took aim once again and shot the deputy in the leg. The deputy never even saw where the shot came from. Deputy Speirs managed to retreat to safety and call for more backup. At this point a manhunt begins for the armed driver.
The driver managed to make his way through the woods to a house on the other side but a Lakeland police detective just happen to be there warning the residents of a fugitive on the loose. The two exchanged gun fire. Neither was hit and the driver escaped back into the woods. As soon as enough officers arrived, police began searching where the driver had last been seen re-entering the woods. Police literally walked over the driver’s hiding place several times as he had buried himself under an long fallen, vine covered, tree. The smell emanating from the rotting tree, while not very noticeable to humans it did manage to mask the scent of the driver from searching police dogs. After a few hours of searching and finding nothing, and with evening fast approaching, police stopped the search and cordoned off the area with over 200 officers from neighboring communities.
The next morning police resumed their search for the driver, at times walking shoulder-to-shoulder so that every square inch of ground would be covered. Within hours the driver and his hiding place were discovered. “I was standing on top of him before I saw him,” said one SWAT officer. Police ordered him to come out from under the tree with his hands up. The driver showed one free hand, but kept hidden what was in his other hand which was apparently covered with some sort of rag. When the rag was ripped away by officers, the driver was found holding a gun. It was then that shots rang out, killing the driver.
“That’s all the bullets we had or we would have shot him more. Quite frankly, we weren’t taking any chances,” said Sheriff Judd.
I say, “Sheriff Judd for President!”
For the record:
The suspect’s mother has hired an attorney to look into the matter, i.e., to see if there is a dollar to be made from the death of her drug dealing, cop killing, dog murdering, son. Hey, good luck with that!