An armed sex offender — wanted for shooting a Florida sheriff's deputy and who was said to have an "evil mindset" and was out to "kill and destroy"— made the last mistake of his life when he broke into a home flying a Trump 2020 flag Wednesday morning.
What are the details?
The Dixie County Sheriff's Office said it assisted the Taylor County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday about 9:45 p.m. after it was reported that a Taylor County deputy was shot during a traffic stop. Dixie County deputies and other agencies searched all night for the suspect without success.
Then on Wednesday around 7:20 a.m., Dixie County deputies responded to a call from a homeowner who said he shot an intruder. The homeowner told arriving deputies he exchanged gunfire with the suspect who'd entered the home. The suspect, Gregory Miedema, was dead at the scene. Miedema was suspected of shooting the Taylor County deputy Tuesday night.
An official told WCTV-TV the Steinhatchee homeowner was shot while protecting himself during the break-in and was taken to a hospital with minor injuries and was expected to be released soon.
'An evil mindset'
Deputies also found at the scene the suspect’s vehicle and several firearms strategically placed in what appeared to be an ambush setup, the sheriff's office said.
During a subsequent press conference, Dixie County Sheriff Darby Butler said he believes Miedema "had an evil mindset; his thought process was to kill and destroy innocent people, and fortunately he did not succeed in that."
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd had nothing but praise for the homeowner who took out Miedema, telling WTVT-TV that "when you break into a house of a stranger and you're shot — shot and killed — that's on you. The homeowner did exactly what he should have done, and that's protect himself, his family, and his home."
What do we know about the dead suspect?
Miedema, 33, was a registered sex offender in the state. The Sarasota County Sheriff’s said Miedema was convicted in 2011 while serving the in the U.S. Army on one count of "lewd or lascivious battery, intercourse with a victim 12 to 15 years old" and one count of possession of child pornography. The sheriff's office added that Miedema was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison followed by two months of probation.
Image source: YouTube screenshot
What happened to the wounded deputy?
The Taylor County Sheriff's Office identified the wounded deputy as Troy Andersen, who was part of the K9 unit, WCTV said. The station added that he was airlifted to a hospital and was undergoing reconstructive surgery on his face and was in stable condition.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a "Blue Alert" for Miedema around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday after he shot the Taylor County sheriff's deputy in Perry, WTVT said.
The station said the Blue Alert notification system has been in place for a decade to alert the public when a law enforcement officer is seriously hurt, killed, or missing in the line of duty. It was only the fourth time a Blue Alert had been issued.
"It's immediately 'all hands on deck' because something terrible has happened to a law enforcement officer, and the suspects are not in custody," Judd added to WTVT, also noting that "if you shoot at a law enforcement officer — an armed law enforcement officer — or you're trying to kill them, no one is safe."
Florida man kills armed intruder wanted for shooting deputy during traffic stop youtu.be