Florida authorities released dash camera footage Thursday of a deputy-involved shooting that ended with a dead suspect — a man who was out on bond for drug trafficking and had multiple convictions for violent offenses, officials said Thursday.
Brevard County Sheriff’s deputies Brian Potters and Tyler Thoman were conducting a traffic stop on Aug. 30 in Melbourne, 70 miles southeast of Orlando, when they were ambushed and fired upon, Sheriff Wayne Ivey said in a video detailing the encounter.
"The attack and ambush [were] perpetrated by a violent, career criminal, with a history of 40 charges for crimes including drug trafficking, aggravated assault while discharging a firearm, battery on a law enforcement officer, and attempted first-degree felony murder," he said.
The entire incident lasted about a minute and was captured on two separate dash cameras.
Deputy Thoman is seen talking to a woman outside her vehicle about the 2-month-old baby and dog in the backseat while another vehicle occupant is leaning against the rear of the car. The suspected shooter, whose identity has not been not released, is sitting in the back seat.
When Potters asks him to exit the car, the suspect opens fire and takes cover at the front of the vehicle, putting the baby seated inside at risk, Ivey said. Potters is heard saying he was struck by gunfire around the same time the suspect appears to be wounded by return fire.
As the deputies move to the side of a police cruiser, the suspect attacks Potters from behind after his rifle jams, striking him in the head with the butt of the weapon before they both fall to the ground, Ivey said.
Thoman then fired multiple shots at the suspect, who was killed. Potters was shot in the leg and sustained head lacerations, tissue damage and bone fractures, the sheriff said.
Ivey said the two occupants standing outside had nothing to do with the ambush attack.
In total, 61 rounds were fired, he said.
"Let there be no doubt, this individual got exactly what he deserved," the sheriff said. "And to those out there that might be foolish enough to ask why we shot him so many times, the answer is simple: evil can never be dead enough."
Ivey ended his breakdown of the incident by lambasting the criminal justice system for allowing the suspect to be free despite his long criminal history.
"This case is a perfect example of what is wrong with our criminal justice system, he said. "When a registered career criminal with 23 felony charges, 17 misdemeanor charges, multiple convictions for violent offenses and two active and pending drug trafficking cases is out on our streets where he can attempt to kill our deputies and put other lives at risk, something is wrong with our system."