DELTONA, Fla. – More than 19 hours after the search began, deputies arrested a man they say shot and killed a Volusia County Sheriff's Office K-9 unit in Deltona.
The K-9 unit, named Forrest, was shot about 7:15 p.m., while responding to a call about a fleeing suspect in Deltona, Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson said.
Deputies withheld the man's name until about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday when they identified him as 34-year-old Eddie Powell, a transient in the Deltona area. He was arrested at about 3 p.m.
The Volusia County Sheriff's Office said investigators are charging Powell with use of a deadly weapon against a police dog, two counts of attempted second-degree murder with a firearm, possession of a weapon or ammunition by a convicted felon, fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer and failure to register a motor vehicle.
The man was shot multiple times by a Seminole County deputy, deputies said. He was taken to Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford with non-life-threatening injuries.
"We're very happy he's in custody and I don't have much sympathy for him," Johnson said.
Powell, who is originally from Georgia, hid in the woods near Vann Park while close to 200 law enforcement officers, including several from Flagler County and Winter Park, conducted a manhunt that spanned through Tuesday night and into Wednesday afternoon, deputies said.
"He's armed and he's dangerous," Johnson said during the search.
Johnson said during a press conference following the arrest that Powell at one point was hiding and that officers almost stepped on him before Powell jumped out and reached for his firearm. A handgun was recovered from the scene after Powell's arrest.
Authorities said they spotted Powell for a minute around 8 a.m. Wednesday, but lost him while switching helicopters. Johnson said they could have captured him Tuesday night if they had the right equipment.
"The reason why we couldn't get to him is because our president took away tracked vehicles that we need in cases like this because of political correctness," Johnson said.
Instead, authorities brought in a bulldozer and tried to tackle the small but dense woods.
Deputies said it's still unclear why Powell ran from them in the first place but just glad he's in custody.
News 6 reporter Mark Lehman tweeted that a "flash bang" was heard around 10:30 a.m., but deputies did not release any information about the incident.
People in the area of Vann Park were asked to stay inside with their doors locked Tuesday night as authorities searched for the man.
Tuesday’s order of events started in the area of Normandy Boulevard and Hancock Drive, near Vann Park. Deputies were in the area looking into a tip from Crime Stoppers about a wanted fugitive at a home on Wing Terrace.
The fugitive wanted for violating her probation was not home.
As investigators lingered outside the house, Powell drove by recklessly on a white dirt bike, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.
When a deputy tried to stop Powell, he took off, authorities said. Investigators didn’t go after him, the sheriff said. A short time later, Powell drove by recklessly again, and disappeared again. The dirt bike was later found nearby, according to deputies.
As deputies contacted people inside the house, where they believed the fugitive was, they heard someone jumping over fences, the sheriff said.
Deputies set up a perimeter, and the Sheriff’s Office Air One helicopter spotted Powell in a nearby wooded area, officials said. Forrest was tracking the man when the man opened fire, prompting deputies to return fire, according to officials.
It’s unclear whose bullet hit the K-9 unit. Forrest was rushed to DeLand Animal Hospital, but couldn’t be saved, officials said.
Two helicopters were involved in the suspect hunt Tuesday night. One was spotted circling with a search light activated. Two flash bangs were also heard.
Winter Park police were among the other agencies assisting the Sheriff’s Office.
Powell's prior criminal history includes armed robbery, kidnapping, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm during a commission of a crime, according to the Jenkins County Sheriff's Office in Millen, Georgia.
He was released from prison two or three years ago, officials said.
Deputies in Millen said Powell still has family in the Millen area and they're not sure why Powell would be in Deltona.
In Florida, killing a police dog is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
Forrest is the ninth K-9 unit to die from gunfire this year in the U.S., according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which records the deaths of law enforcement officers and their police dogs.
The last time a K-9 unit was shot to death in Florida was on January 2013, when Koda was killed in Leon County. Koda was shot while pursuing a man fleeing from police, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
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