Florida Shooting: 4 Are Found Dead After Man Opens Fire on Deputies

A gunman sporting physique armor and described by a sheriff as “ready for battle” fatally shot 4 individuals, together with an toddler, in two properties close to Lakeland, Fla., early on Sunday morning and exchanged gunfire with sheriff’s deputies earlier than he was taken into custody, the authorities mentioned.

The gunman, who additionally shot and wounded an 11-year-old woman, surrendered after he was shot not less than as soon as throughout two gunfights with deputies that concerned dozens, if not a whole lot of rounds, in an unincorporated residential neighborhood in Polk County, Fla., the county sheriff, Grady Judd, mentioned at a information convention.

Three of the individuals who have been killed — a person, lady and an toddler the lady was cradling in her arms — have been discovered inside one dwelling, the authorities mentioned. A fourth sufferer, a lady, was discovered shot to demise in one other dwelling on the identical property.

Investigators couldn’t instantly say what prompted the rampage, which they mentioned started round 4:30 a.m. They didn’t launch the names of the victims or the gunman, who was taken into custody by officers from a number of legislation enforcement businesses in tactical gear as a helicopter hovered above the scene. No deputies have been injured.

While the gunman was being handled at a hospital emergency room, he tried to seize a police officer’s gun and needed to be medicated and restrained, Sheriff Judd mentioned.

“He was ready for battle,” Sheriff Judd mentioned of the gunman, who he mentioned had instructed deputies that he was a “survivalist” and was taking methamphetamine.

PictureInvestigators couldn’t instantly say what prompted the rampage, which they mentioned started round 4:30 a.m. Credit…through Polk County Sheriff

The 11-year-old woman was flown to Tampa, Fla., which is about 35 miles southwest of Lakeland, and was in surgical procedure, the sheriff mentioned. She was “doing well,” he mentioned, and was chatting with detectives. Additional data on her situation was not instantly out there.

“She looks our deputies in the eye and said, ‘There’s three more dead people in the house,’” Sheriff Judd mentioned.

He mentioned the primary indication that one thing was amiss got here round 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, when a lady referred to as the authorities to say suspicious man was sitting in a parked car within the neighborhood.

She instructed them of a daunting encounter with the person, who she mentioned had instructed her that “God sent me here to speak with one of your daughters.”

By the time a sheriff’s deputy arrived about six minutes later, the person was gone, Sheriff Judd mentioned.

About 9 hours later, a sheriff’s lieutenant who was on one other name two miles away heard two volleys of computerized gunfire, the sheriff mentioned. When legislation enforcement officers arrived on the property, which has three properties, they discovered a truck on fireplace.

“We saw an individual totally outfitted in body armor and looked as if he was ready to engage us all in an active shooter situation,” Sheriff Judd mentioned.

The man retreated inside the house, and the sheriff mentioned that officers might hear a lady scream and a child whimper after extra gunfire.

The sheriff’s lieutenant tried to enter the home via the entrance door however it was barricaded, the sheriff mentioned. When he entered the home from the again, the gunman began capturing, and the lieutenant returned fireplace, Sheriff Judd mentioned, including that three different deputies have been additionally “pinned down” in the course of the standoff.

Sheriff Judd mentioned investigators discovered a stockpile of provides within the suspect’s truck, together with a bleeding-control first-aid equipment.

“Who in the world would ever expect to have an active shooter in a neighborhood at 4:30 on a Sunday morning?” he mentioned.

Before investigators might enter the house, he mentioned, robots have been despatched in to verify for explosives or different booby traps. He didn’t say whether or not investigators discovered any.

“This is a horrific incident,” Brian Haas, the state legal professional for Florida’s 10th Judicial Circuit, mentioned on the information convention. “Our community and many families are hurting this morning.”

At the information convention, Sheriff Judd mentioned he regretted that the gunman had come out along with his fingers up reasonably than brandishing a weapon.

“If he’d given us the opportunity,” he mentioned, deputies would have “shot him up a lot,” and the authorities would have “had a different conversation here this morning.”

“But he didn’t, because he was a coward,” Sheriff Judd added. “You see, it’s easy to shoot innocent children and babies and people in the middle of the night when you’ve got the gun and they don’t. But he was not much of a man.”