St. Johns County, FL – As first responders rushed to prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Ian in Florida overnight, a man involved in a road rage incident opened fire on deputies.
St. Johns County Sheriff Robert A. Hardwick told WJXX that the incident occurred just after midnight on Sept. 29 as deputies responded to a 911 call about a road rage incident involving a weapon on the roadway in the Moultrie Creek area.
Deputies spotted the suspect vehicle northbound on U.S. 1, WJAX reported.
When the deputies stopped the car, Sheriff Hardwick said the suspect – later identified as Gary Green – brandished a 12-guage shotgun and opened fire on a patrol vehicle.
“The blast actually hit the windshield in front of the driver,” the sheriff explained.
The deputy was not hit and pursued the suspect’s vehicle as it fled, WJAX reported.
Sheriff Hardwick said the deputy successfully executed a PIT maneuver and stopped Green’s vehicle a short time later.
When his vehicle came to a stop, the suspect found himself surrounded by armed deputies and was taken into custody, WJAX reported.
“Our deputy sheriff was fine, was shooken up,” the sheriff told reporters afterwards.
He said he was frustrated that law enforcement officers were dealing with road rage incidents in the middle of a natural disaster, WJAX reported.
“That’s the stuff we’re dealing with while we’re doing this, Sheriff Hardwick said. “While we’re trying to make sure that everybody who evacuates property is taken care of and secure, and we don’t have burglaries in progress, and the people that are doing the right thing, we’re trying to take care of them.”
The sheriff said that all the law enforcement officers from various agencies who were at the scene thought the deputy would be dead after they saw Green shoot at him through his windshield, WJAX reported.
“It made me sick to my stomach… all the deputy sheriffs thought that he would be dead,” he recalled. “By the grace of God, of course, it’s a double-aught buck and actually the pellets were all around where the deputy’s head would be” but the deputy was not hit.
Sheriff Hardwick said investigators determined that Green had also fired at another patrol vehicle and missed hitting that deputy as well, WJAX reported.
Green was arrested and booked into the St. Johns County jail on a slew of pending charges.