Florida sheriff defends deputy-involved shooting after ambush attack: 'Evil can never be dead enough'

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 was 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. 

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The entire incident last about a minute and was captured on two separate dash cameras. 

Thoman was conversing with 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 was 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 fire 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.”

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