Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell provided updated information on Monday’s officer-involved shooting on Thursday, November 8th. Video of the live Facebook feed is below.
Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell’s statement on the officer-involved shooting that took place November 5, 2018. This statement was given Monday afternoon.
Charlotte County deputies responded this morning to the McDonald’s in Charlotte Harbor after 911 calls were transferred from the Punta Gorda Police Department in reference to a vehicle going North on Southbound Tamiami Trail over the bridge (into Charlotte Harbor).
A female witness observing the vehicle followed the suspect car into the McDonalds parking lot, and stayed on the line with dispatchers as she made contact with the driver. The witness would later advise deputies that she made contact with him out of concern that his driving behavior was due to dementia.
Throughout the call, the witness remained calm and was able to provide dispatch and responding deputies valuable information about the suspect and his intentions. The witness advised dispatchers that the suspect displayed a weapon and was making threats about harming law enforcement when they arrive. Some of his statements can be heard through her open line. Dispatchers advised they could hear the male saying “If they don’t take me out, I will take them out” through the open line.
Deputies arrived on scene within minutes of the call, and took tactical positions based on the suspect’s threats and possession of a weapon. Upon the arrival of deputies, the suspect stepped out of his vehicle, holding what was observed as a rifle. The witness ran toward one of the deputy’s vehicles and called out that she observed the gun and he threatened to hurt them. She then took cover behind their vehicle and was not harmed.
The deputies did visually confirm during this time that the suspect was in possession of a rifle. One deputy gave commands to drop the rifle and the suspect did not comply. A team was quickly assembled to confront the suspect with less-lethal shotgun rounds. Approximately 10 deputies were on scene at the time of the shooting in various positions. Three rounds of less lethal ammunition were fired at the suspect by one deputy as part of a take down team. Two of the three rounds struck the suspect.
While being struck with the less lethal rounds, the suspect turned and began to raise the rifle in the direction of the take down team. A deputy from another angle fired four rounds at the suspect, striking him four times.
Deputies on scene immediately provided life saving measures, using an AED and performing CPR until the arrival of EMS. Charlotte County EMS transported the suspect to a local hospital where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries.
The deceased suspect is George Smith (12/13/45) of Arcadia. He has no prior contact with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office. Detectives are still working to determine a reason for his actions this morning.
Smith claimed to have killed several people when speaking to the witness. Detectives have made contact with his family in Arcadia to confirm that they were not harmed. At this time, his claims are not substantiated.
This investigation into this incident is still ongoing. Investigators with the State Attorney’s Office also immediately responded to the scene and will be working with the Major Crimes Unit throughout the investigation.
The two deputies who fired their weapons (less lethal and lethal) are on administrative leave until the conclusion of the investigation.
Note of clarification: At the beginning of the press conference, the Sheriff states the calls came in “shortly after 12am”. He intended to say “5:12am”.
Public Information Officer
Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office