Florida Authorities Kill Armed Gunman Who Shot Cop to Death

An armed gunman suspected of shooting to death a Polk County sheriff's deputy was killed by SWAT teams Friday.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said officials shot the man in thick brush where he was hiding, a day after Deputy Vernon Matthew Williams was killed. Judd also said a notebook filled with what appeared to be drug transactions was found in the gunman's car, and he vowed to track down any drug dealers involved with him.

"I want the people who have dealt drugs with him — this is not over," Judd told reporters. "We're coming after you next and we're going to put you in jail. We're not just stopping with the seizure of the deputy's killer. We're gonna track down this narcotics group and see that they're all arrested, too."

Police identified the gunman as Angelo Freeland, but said it was difficult to know for sure because he used many aliases.

SWAT teams from across Florida had been combing through heavy brush Friday, looking for the "scared" and "dangerous" man who shot at Williams and another deputy Thursday. During a phone interview with FOX News Friday morning, Judd said "hundreds of shots are being fired," adding, "we believe we found him." Confirmation came soon after that Freeland was dead.

During a brief press conference Friday, Judd said Freeland had dug in and was lying underneath a very large tree that had fallen over and was completely covered by vines. "Certainly it offered a great deal of coverage, more importantly for him, he thought it offered him a great deal of protection from gunfire," Judd said of the suspect's hiding place.

Freeland was only about 75 to 100 yards into the thickest, deepest brush behind the location where he last shot at police on Thursday, Judd said.

Judd told FOX News that SWAT team members "literally walked on top of him" when searching the area. Apparently when SWAT team shooters saw the suspect and asked him to raise his hands, he only raised one at first.

Then "he raised his right hand and had a firearm in it and when he did that, that's the last thing he ever did," Judd said, saying the "deputy killer" was shot "many, many times." The gun in Freeland's hand was the dead deputy's .45-caliber. Police also found a 9-mm handgun at the scene.

"I can tell you, it was a tough scene, it was a tough event but the SWAT team members put their lives on the line to bring the killer to justice," he added. "The killer chose his end, he chose his end because he didn't show both hands."

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Judd said sources told police that Freeland routinely carried a gun in his waistband. In 1999, the man was booked into Polk County jail after being arrested for not having a valid license, reckless driving, resisting arrest and carrying a concealed weapon, among other charges.

Freeland is accused of gunning down Williams after fleeing a traffic stop Thursday. The suspected gunman's face was identified by Deputy Douglas Speirs, who made the stop and was shot in the leg moments after Williams was killed. Williams, 39, probably died instantly, Judd said.

"He was shot multiple times. I don't believe he felt a thing," he said.

Speirs, 39, was treated for a gunshot wound to the leg and released Thursday evening, Judd said.

Speirs had stopped Freeland for speeding in north Lakeland near Interstate 4 and became suspicious of the man's identification. Freeland got nervous and bolted into the woods, Judd said.

Speirs pursued him and called for backup. Williams arrived and they began working their way into the woods, Judd said.

As the officers tracked him, there was a "burst of gunfire" that is believed to have killed Williams and his police dog, Judd said. Speirs returned fire and was shot.

Freeland later exchanged gunfire with a Lakeland police detective who was at a home warning residents to stay inside. No one was hit. A $40,000 reward was offered for information leading to his arrest.

By early Friday, more than 500 police officers had used night-vision scopes and tracking dogs to search for Freeland. Some officers drove for hours to get to the scene, about 35 miles east of Tampa.

Williams had been with the sheriff's office since April 1994. He had a wife and three children.

FOXNews.com's Liza Porteus and The Associated Press contributed to this report.