There’s an old joke —
Question: Sure, there was a bad guy coming at you, but why did shoot him seven times?
Answer: Because my gun only holds seven rounds.
Sheriff Wayne Ivey of Brevard County, Florida, was on a similar track Thursday in describing a 61-round gunfight on Aug. 30 that involved two of his deputies and a career criminal.
Explaining why the perpetrator, who was wrestling with and clubbing a deputy, was shot repeatedly and killed, Ivey said, “Evil can never be dead enough.”
His comment came in a sheriff’s office video in which he noted that the violent criminal had used a 2-month-old baby as cover while firing at the deputies.
The event followed a routine traffic stop in an unincorporated portion of West Melbourne, Florida.
A patrol car dashcam video shared by the sheriff shows two individuals outside the car, one of them a woman who was chatting with Deputy Tyler Thoman. At the same time, Deputy Brian Potters spoke to a man sitting in the back seat of the car, where there also was the baby and a dog.
Told by Potters to get out of the car, the man — later identified as Paris Wilder, 38, of Cocoa — pulled what Ivey described as a “pistol-grip style, high-powered rifle” and began shooting as Potters and Thoman ran and returned fire.
Wilder was wounded, as was Potters. After Wilder’s gun jammed, he used the butt of the weapon to club the deputy.
With both Potters and Wilder off-camera, Thoman apparently got a clear shot at Wilder and was recorded pumping some 15 rounds in the direction of where he was.
Wilder was pronounced dead at the scene.
A total of 61 shots were fired in a one-minute period, Ivey said.
The sheriff was incensed that Wilder, whom he called “a career criminal,” was not in jail despite his criminal history and the active warrants against him.
Wilder, he said, had “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. As well as convictions for robbery with a firearm, failing to register as a career offender, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, resisting arrest with violence, possession of controlled substances and various probation violations.
“Even worse, and more disgusting, is that this career criminal …was actually out on bond with active warrants for additional felony drug trafficking cases, where he could attempt to kill our deputies, when he should have been safely locked behind bars where he couldn’t victimize another citizen or innocent bystander.
“I’m sure that like me, you’re probably asking yourself right now why a thug with this kind of criminal history was ever given a bond where he could be out on our streets to harm someone else. That’s a question I promise to find the answer to. But for now I’m just extremely thankful that our deputies are safe and the suspect is no longer on this planet where he could put someone else’s life in peril.”
The sheriff said Wilder “got exactly what he deserved. And to 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.”
WARNING: The following video contains graphic violence and language that some viewers may find disturbing or offensive.
Ivey said Potters had “a gunshot wound to the lower leg, multiple head lacerations, tissue damage, a concussion and fractures of the orbital bone and sinuses.” Thoman was not injured.
The other individuals in the car were described as cooperative and were not charged, the sheriff said.
Ivey said law enforcement officers regularly face situations like this.
“Both of our deputies were in a battle for their lives as this disgusting and evil individual had a blatant disregard for their lives, the life of others at the scene and even the life of the 2-month-old baby who was in the car, he repeatedly used for cover as he tried to kill both Deputy Potters and Deputy Thoman,” the sheriff said.
“When I tell you that we were blessed that God was watching over our deputies and those present at the scene, I mean it from the bottom of my heart, and I could not be more proud of the actions of Deputy Potters and Deputy Thoman,” Ivey said.
He added, “Folks, I can’t speak for you, but I am personally sickened by the fact that this thug with such a violent criminal history was out of jail where he could almost kill two of our deputies.
“It’s time that we as law-abiding citizens start demanding that violent criminals who can’t obey the law are kept behind bars where they can’t victimize anyone else.”
One more thing about this incident involving the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office:
If you’re a sheriff, a law enforcement chief, one of their spokesmen or any other public official dealing with the media, Ivey gave a great demonstration of how to do it.
He came across as being transparent, telling it like it is, commending his deputies and projecting no sympathy for the bad guy.
Seems like a standup guy, this sheriff.