Polk County Sheriff's Deputy Terrie Storie is home with his family after surviving a stand-off situation that Sheriff Grady Judd says could have been a lot worse.
"This man was very, very out of control," Judd explained Sunday afternoon, shortly after the violent incident came to an end. "He was on a mission and his mission was to kill deputies."
The man he's referring to is Douglas Meadows, a 42-year-old Mulberry resident who until Sunday had no prior brushes with law enforcement.
He's accused of shooting at several deputies as they responded to a domestic dispute at his Poinsettia Drive home.
One of those shots ricocheted off the ground hitting Lt. Storie in the leg. The 47-year-old deputy was transported to Lakeland Regional Medical where he was treated and released.
Judd says this dangerous situation started early Sunday with a fishing trip. According to Meadows wife he got so drunk that she had to drive him home.
Once home Meadows apparently got angry, very angry.
"For whatever reason he decides that he's going to kill himself," Judd added.
Investigators say the suspect ordered his wife out of the house, picked up a rifle with a scope and set his sights on the deputies who came to diffuse the situation.
"He continues to shoot and tells his wife that he is trying to kill the deputy behind his red pick-up truck," said Judd.
Eventually the department's Special Weapons and Tactics Team fired tear gas into the residence. A few seconds later Meadows came out of the home unarmed. He was immediately taken into custody without further incident.
Lt. Storie was the only person injured during the melee, but bullet holes in squad cars and even a SWAT team robot shows this could have been tragic.
"Our deputies risked their lives today to get the neighbors away," Sheriff Judd said.
One of those neighbors was David Vela.
"We heard gunfire and a lady officer told us to go behind the house or go inside," said Vela.
He says he saw Lt. Storie shortly after he was shot.
"He like ducked and like checked his leg," the teenager said. "He stared coming right here and he was limping."
Storie will recover and Sheriff Judd feels very thankful and little lucky that he'll be ok and nobody else was injured or killed.
Judd: "This was as dangerous a situation that you can ever have."
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