On Friday, May 24th, 2019 at approximately 9:18 PM, the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office Public Safety Dispatch received a call from Brevard County Sheriff’s Office regarding a vehicle pursuit heading southbound on Interstate 95 from Cocoa. Brevard County Sheriff’s dispatch provided updates as the vehicle stopped at a rest area, located between Palm Bay and Sebastian. Two passengers, one juvenile (17) and one adult, exited the fleeing vehicle. Brevard County identified the fleeing vehicle as a pickup truck pulling an open flatbed trailer. Brevard Deputies took custody of the two passengers as the driver and vehicle got back on I-95 again fleeing south towards Indian River County. Cursory interviews with the two passengers revealed the driver of the vehicle had active arrest warrants and was considered armed and dangerous. They confirmed that the driver was in possession of an AR-15 rifle and a handgun.
An Indian River County deputy in an unmarked patrol truck deployed stop sticks at the north county line before falling in behind the fleeing vehicle. Other patrol units were able to clear most of the traffic in the area as the suspect vehicle traveled at low speeds on I-95. The tires on the vehicle and trailer began to deflate as a result of striking the stop sticks. At the 152 mile marker, the fleeing vehicle attempted a wide turn in the median. A K-9 deputy used his patrol vehicle to block the fleeing vehicle from getting back on to I-95 northbound. As the deputy in the unmarked patrol truck followed the fleeing vehicle into the median, the suspect fired several rounds at the deputy. At least two rounds struck the unmarked patrol truck. Both the deputy in the unmarked patrol truck and the K-9 deputy exchanged gunfire with the wanted subject. Neither of the deputies or the K-9 were injured. The wanted subject was pronounced dead at the scene. The name of the wanted subject is being withheld until next of kin notification can be confirmed.
Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar stated, “We are proud of the actions of our deputies last night. Our dispatchers and aviation team did an outstanding job of providing our deputies on the ground with information they needed to make good split second decisions, preventing this wanted subject from further endangering the public. One of the rounds fired by the fleeing felon struck the headrest of our deputy’s truck. Fortunately, he had just moved out of the way, escaping what would have likely been a fatal shot. Our entire team acted heroically and are to be commended for their efforts to protect our community.”
The deceased had active arrest warrants from Brevard County for violation of probation and drug charges, indicating that he should be considered armed and dangerous. Since 1996, this career criminal has been arrested more than twenty times for felony charges and more than ten times for misdemeanors, racking up seven felony convictions. The two deputies who discharged their weapons were placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, which is standard protocol. The suspect’s AR-15 was recovered at the scene. Deputies also observed drugs in plain view, but a full inventory of the vehicle is pending the execution of a search warrant this week.