FRUITLAND PARK, Fla. – A Lake County sheriff's deputy shot and killed a man who repeatedly tried to hit him in the head with an oar as he attempted to escape in a boat, officials said.
Deputies were called Tuesday evening to a hit-and-run at a store in Fruitland Park, where the driver crashed into the store and another vehicle, according to officials. When deputies arrived, they realized the man had just tried to carjack an occupied vehicle, the Lake County Sheriff's Office said.
Deputies identified the man Wednesday morning as Wayne Donald Dorsey, 49.
Witness Bob Hannon said he stopped at a nearby house after seeing Dorsey driving recklessly.
"Scary -- it's crazy scary," Hannon said. "I mean, really. In my rearview mirror, I could see a very (large-eyed) person with one hand on the steering wheel going, 'Errrr.' I was really concerned about the guy driving like that."
Hannon said he pulled over to help and Dorsey smashed through a fence and into his car.
"He intentionally went, 'bam,' and took off," Hannon said. "If I would (have) got out of the car, I probably wouldn't be here right now."
Investigators said Dorsey continued driving and ended up crashing through a Citgo gas station.
The owner of the gas station store told News 6 Dorsey crashed into building three or four times, crushing an ice machine and breaking a wall.
"No customers were hurt, nobody, not an employee. Nothing," Jiten Kumar, the store owner said. "We are so lucky."
Dorsey ran off, leading deputies on a chase that ended when Dorsey reached a lake and got into a boat. A deputy got about chest-deep into the water to apprehend Dorsey, but Dorsey used the boat oar to try to hit the deputy.
"When you got a (fleeing) felon, and we don't know if this person is armed, you know, with the erratic behavior he was showing, it's one of those things deputies will pursue," said Fred Jones, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Office.
The deputy used his stun gun, but it was ineffective, the Sheriff's Office said. The deputy shot Dorsey as he was attempting to hit him in the head with the oar, according to officials.
Dorsey was pronounced dead at the scene.
"You never want to have to use your weapon in a situation," Jones said. "It's concerning from a deputy's perspective when you're in such a vulnerable place as chest-deep in water."
Detectives said the deputy has been put on administrative leave, which is standard protocol. He is a 12-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office.
The name of the deputy has not been released.
Dorsey has a criminal history in Lake County, according to the sheriff's office arrest records. He was most recently arrested in November and in 2009.
Jones said he had a previous drug charge for cocaine possession.
An autopsy will determine if Dorsey had anything in his system at the time of his death, Jones said.