Two Fla. Deputies Injured in Shootout, Suspect Killed

A shootout in Polk County wounded two deputies and killed a suspect early Friday morning.


LAKELAND, Fla. --

A shootout in Polk County wounded two deputies and killed a suspect early Friday morning. The deputies confronted a man on a bicycle in Lakeland when he allegedly pulled out a gun and started shooting.

According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Deputy Mike Braswell and Deputy Paul Fairbanks III confronted a suspicious, white male as he was riding a bicycle. After being stopped because his bike didn't have lights or reflectors on it, the suspect was initially cooperative. However, when the deputies asked for permission to search him, he pulled out a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun and opened fire on the deputies.

Angela Browning had to stop by the place where her son, 21-year-old Matthew Tutt, was killed.

“What does a mother do without her son now? I don't know what all happened. I just want the truth. I'm sorry officers were shot,” Browning said.

The deputies were saved by bulletproof vests.

“He just busted out with this firearm all of a sudden without any warning at all,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.

Both deputies were shot, but managed to returned fire and the suspect fell to the ground. The sheriff said Tutt grabbed his semi-automatic handgun and began shooting again.

“I hear the gunshots go off, ‘Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!’ And I heard another set of gunshots a few seconds later,” eyewitness Dayton Carr said.

Deputy Mike Braswell, 32, was shot in the extremities, and Deputy Paul Fairbanks III, 58, was shot in the stomach and arm.

One or more of the shots proved fatal and Tutt died in the street.

“This ended today as it should. Our deputies are alive and the guy who shot these deputies is dead,” Judd said.

Hours after the shooting, a bio-hazard team was still on the scene mopping up blood left on the street. At least 30 shell casings rained to the ground and investigators put evidence markers next to them.

“I was surprised. I was surprised it all happened,” Browning said.

The gun was visible under an unmarked patrol car.

Both deputies were transported by EMS to Lakeland Regional Medical Center where they were being treated for their injuries. Deputy Fairbanks underwent Friday surgery.

“Once again, this is a classic example of what a dangerous job these men and women do everyday,” Sheriff Judd said.

The sheriff said Deputy Fairbanks planned to retire sometime soon. Both deputies are expected to survive.

Deputies told WFTV Tutt was a gang member. He was arrested in the past for aggravated assault with a weapon and drug possession.

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