Polk County, Florida – A felon involved in a traffic incident died after getting shot by police officers during a felony traffic stop and shootout Wednesday night.
Francis Perry, 32, a known convicted violent felon, was stopped by detectives from HIDTA (High- Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) task force comprised of officers from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, and police departments from Lake Wales, Haines City, and Winter Haven.
In this Video, Sheriff Grady Judd stated that Perry was asked by the detectives to show his hands, roll down the window and open the door because the windows on the side of the vehicle were very dark and they can barely see in.
The detective in front of the car says Perry continues to do everything from showing his hands to going down to the right side of his body.
Perry did not comply but fired at the officers instead. The officers returned fire that led to Perry getting shot multiple times.
“The message is very clear: Don’t point your guns and shoot at law enforcement officers if you don’t want to be shot,” Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said. “We shot back because he shot at us – and we shot at him a lot.”
More details in this video:
“This started out as a traffic stop of a violent person. We respect life, we expect the community to respect us back and the overwhelming do. But, when they shoot at us we will absolutely shoot back that’s a guarantee”, Sheriff Judd said.
The officers called for medical assistance and performed a CPR while waiting for other emergency services.
Sheriff Judd says Perry was many times, he was rushed to an area hospital where he died around 6 a.m. on Thursday.
Perry had admitted to law enforcement agencies in the past to being part of the white supremacist movement. He has faced charges in Lee and Polk counties including aggravated assault with a weapon, robbery, burglary, grand theft, attempted second-degree murder, impersonating a law enforcement officer, unlawful possession of a handcuff key, possession of drugs and possession of a firearm by convicted felon.
There was a warrant for his arrest as a fugitive from justice. He had a trafficking amount of what appears to be methamphetamine in the car, according to the sheriff’s office.
Winter Haven Police Chief Charlie Bird said “I am thankful to God that every one of those officers and that deputy that were involved in this were not hurt. We are very fortunate we are not out here talking about an officer that has been shot.”
No law enforcement officers were hurt during the shootout. The officers involved in the shooting will be placed on administrative leave during an internal investigation of the shooting, something that is done when an officer is involved in a shooting.