Charlotte Deputies shoot armed suspect
Two Charlotte County deputies are on administrative leave after firing their guns at a 72 year old, armed man and killing him early Monday morning.
Deputies received 3 911 calls, leading to the death of George Lyman Smith of Arcadia.
"...about an individual who was traveling the wrong way on US 41," said Charlotte County Sheriff, Bill Prummell.
One of those callers followed Smith's car and turned into a Charlotte Harbor McDonalds, located on the 4600 block of Tamiami Trail.
Sheriff Prummell said, "She has a background in mental health care so she stood with the individual talking to him. At which time he made some statements to her that he was trying to drive to a police station."
The woman allegedly asked him why a police station. His response on the 911 call was, "I'll kill them. If they don't take me out, I'll kill them," Smith said.
Sheriff Prummell said, "He patted a long rifle that was in the front seat of his car. He told her that it was an AK–47 and that he planned on using it when law enforcement arrived."
Smith warned the woman he already shot 3 people. Sheriff Prummell said there's no evidence right now indicating Smith's statement is true. Minutes later, more than 10 deputies arrived to the scene. One deputy fired 3 'less–lethal' bean bag rounds at Smith.
"He began to raise the rifle toward their direction and slide the bolt. Another deputy from another angle saw this and he fired his weapon four times, striking and killing the individual," Sheriff Prummell said.
The gunfire startled neighbor, Lacie Bryant. "I hear, 'pow, pow, pow' real quick and then I ran outside and there was already so many cops already in the parking lot and then on 41," she said, "I saw the guy laying on the ground and he laid there for awhile."
Prummell said deputies immediately attempted to perform life–saving measures and called EMS to the scene. Smith was transported to Bayfront Hospital, Port Charlotte.
"The two deputies, the one who fired the less lethal and the one who fired the lethal shots will be put on administrative leave per our protocol," he said.
Sheriff Prummell said Smith's motive is unknown at this time, other than looking to start a firefight with law enforcement. The investigation continues.