Man accused of shooting at Marion County deputy

Deputy uninjured, suspect in custody, officials say

MARION COUNTY, Fla. – A man is accused of shooting at a Marion County deputy Thursday morning, according to officials from the Sheriff's Office.

A spokeswoman said Cpl. Alan Hewett was assigned to hold the scene of a homicide investigation around 11 a.m. in the 7900 block of NW 39th Avenue Road when he heard gunshots coming from the yard of the home that was surrounded by crime scene tape.

When Hewett confronted the man, identified as 28-year-old Malcolm Jamal Thomas, Thomas told the deputy, "Y'all need to get the (expletive) out of here," then ran away, turning back to fire four or five rounds at Hewett, according to the affidavit.

Authorities said Hewett was not shot and that he did not return fire.

After a search, Hewett was arrested nearby. He told deputies that he was at the home when the homicide occurred, according to the report.

"He advised he fled the scene in order to retrieve a firearm, return and kill his brother," a deputy wrote in the affidavit. 

Authorities said Hewett had eight .32-caliber bullets in his pockets when he was arrested and the .32-caliber silver revolver was found in the wooded area as deputies were searching for the suspect.

He is charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.

Neighbors said they didn't know what was happening as the scene unfolded Thursday afternoon.

Malcolm Thomas is accused of shooting at a Marion County sheriff's deputy on April 26, 2018.
Malcolm Thomas is accused of shooting at a Marion County sheriff's deputy on April 26, 2018.

"All these police and helicopters over the place. We didn’t know what was going on," the neighbor said.

News 6 is working to find out if he's also a suspect in the homicide where deputies say a woman was killed in her home. 

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said Hewett is doing all right, but the shooting on Thursday is indicative of a larger problem.

"There is absolutely no reason, no justifiable reason to shoot a law enforcement officer," Woods said.

On Sunday, Marion County Deputy Joseph Spratlin was shot at numerous times while responding to a call at a bar in Citra, officials said. Spratlin hid behind his patrol car, unable to return fire as he worked to get bystanders to safety.

"We're beginning to become used to it, taking fire," Woods said.

The shooting on Thursday was reported about 2 miles away from Fessenden Elementary School. The school was put on a code red as a precaution, but the campus community was not involved in the incident, officials said.

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