Shannon Thaler, Daily Mail, September 10, 2021
Dashcam footage shows the moment two Florida deputies are ambushed by a gunman wanted on two active felony warrants, prompting a shootout that left the career criminal dead and an officer severely injured.
Deputies Brian Potters and Tyler Thoman pulled over a car on West New Haven Avenue in Melbourne, Florida, in a routine traffic stop off of I-95 on August 30.
In the video, a man and a woman are seen standing outside their car. Thoman was talking to the woman about a two-month-old baby and dog in the backseat, according to a video posted on the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, as Potters asks a third passenger to exit the car.
GRAPHIC VIDEO: Florida man opens fire on deputies with AR-15 style rifle during traffic stop with 2-month-old baby in car; gunman dead, one deputy injured #BecauseFlorida https://t.co/xdsuPFmscj pic.twitter.com/5zREcLsT03
— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) September 11, 2021
Paris Wilder, 38, then jumps out of the car and starts shooting at the officer.
‘He (Potters) is immediately and without warning ambushed with a small stock AR-15-styled rifle that is pointed and fired directly at him,’ Sheriff Wayne Ivey said in the video.
Wilder was out on bond for two felony drug charges and two active felony warrants when the shooting happened.
Ivey suggested Wilder was ‘avoiding arrest as he knew he was facing several minimum mandatory prison sentences in his pending cases’.
Potters is then seen running away from the gunman as Wilder takes cover behind the car and continues shooting. The officers returned fire.
‘I’ve been hit,’ Potters shouts as Wilder starts hopping on one foot, appearing to have been shot too.
Wilder runs towards the deputies and they try to take cover behind the sheriff’s car. The suspect then ambushes Potters from behind, beating him with the gun and knocking him to the ground.
Ivey said Wilder ‘fired numerous rounds at our deputies’ and ‘used the butt of the rifle to violently and repeatedly strike Deputy Potters in the head, causing significant injuries and lacerations’.
Thoman is then seen firing multiple rounds, killing Wilder, ‘thus eliminating the threat and saving Deputy Potter’s life,’ Ivey said.
Potters was shot in the lower leg and suffered multiple head lacerations from the beating, Ivey said, including ’tissue damage, a concussion and fractures’.
He ‘sustained non-life threatening injuries… and is expected to make a full recovery,’ a statement from the Sheriff’s Office read.
Thoman did not suffer any injuries during the incident and both officers have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is customary in all deputy-involved shootings.
The two other passengers in the car, including the baby and dog, survived the shooting.
Ivey identified Wilder as a career criminal with 40 previous arrests, including 23 felony arrests for charges including robbery with a firearm, aggravated assault with a weapon, battery of a law enforcement officer, attempted first-degree murder and multiple narcotics offenses.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ivey said of his death: ‘For 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.’
‘This individual had absolutely no regard for human life and was focused on only one thing – killing our deputies to avoid arrest,’ he explained.
‘The investigation is still active and ongoing at this time (and) once the investigation is complete, it will be submitted to the State Attorney for review,’ the statement from the Sheriff’s Office added.