Brevard County Sheriff’s Department released a dramatic footage of a traffic stop involving its deputies that turned into a deadly shootout with a man they describe as a “violent career criminal.”
The incident started when the deputies conducted a routine traffic stop. The vehicle had three adults and a two-month-old infant inside. The deputies made small talk with two vehicle occupants before asking the backseat passenger to step out of the car.
He jumped out of the backseat brandishing a rifle and immediately opened fire, sending the deputies scrambling for cover. One deputy was shot in the leg.
The deputies, ducking down, didn’t see the attacker running around their patrol car to sneak up on them. However, his weapon apparently jammed, and he used the butt of the rifle to bash one deputy’s head repeatedly. His partner changed his clip and opened fire, repeatedly shooting the assailant at close range.
The suspect, later identified as 38-year-old Paris Wilder, died at the scene.
The sheriff’s department called Wilder a “career offender” with over 40 arrests on various charges, including armed robbery, aggravated assault, drug offenses, battery of a law enforcement officer, and attempted first degree felony murder.
At the time of the incident, he was out on bond for two felony drug charges. He also had two active felony warrants.
Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey stated: “I’m just extremely thankful that our deputies are safe and the suspect is no longer on this planet where he could put someone else’s life in peril.”
Ivey expressed concern about how Wilder was still on the streets following numerous arrests, and promised to find out why. He theorized that Wilder attacked the deputies because of the outstanding warrants.
“Let there be no doubt: This individual got exactly what he deserved,” he added. “And to those out there who might be foolish enough to ask why we shot him so many times, that answer is simple: Because evil can never be dead enough.”
Deputy Brian Potter was shot in the lower leg and sustained skull fractures in the attack. He was hospitalized in stable condition and expected to recover. The Marine veteran had been with the department for less than two years, although he previously served in other law enforcement agencies.
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