VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Video from a police- and deputy-involved shooting Monday afternoon shows the suspect firing multiple rounds at a deputy who was tangled in his seat belt and unable to get to his department-issued firearm, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said.
If it weren't for another deputy, Kevin Moss, positioning himself and his vehicle between suspect Dillon Parker and Deputy Wesley Blum, the situation could have turned out much differently, according to Chitwood.
[WARNING: Video below contains graphic footage, viewer discretion is advised]
"It’s miraculous. Thank the good Lord that they (the law enforcement officers) all went home safe last night and that’s the bottom line. You’ve got a multiple convicted felon, armed with a firearm, with a complete disregard for human life, for anybody at all," Chitwood said.
Parker was wanted on an attempted murder charge in connection with a shooting in DeLand on Nov. 10 that left a man critically injured, according to authorities. Parker was about a mile away from the scene of the shooting when Volusia deputies received a tip from Lake County that Parker was in the area.
Authorities Parker saw a deputy driving in the opposite direction of him on U.S. 17 and drove straight toward the patrol vehicle, forcing the deputy to swerve to avoid a head-on collision.
Stop sticks were deployed in the area, causing Parker to lose control of his vehicle. Deputies said Parker got out of his vehicle and fired approximately three to five rounds at Moss, who was tangled in his seat belt in a way that left him unable to access his gun or get out of the vehicle.
Blum saw what was happening and positioned his patrol vehicle between Moss and Parker, all while firing about five rounds through his windshield toward the suspect, authorities said.
The gunfire caused Parker to retreat directly into the path of DeLand Police Department Cpl. Tony Tagle, who was on his way in to work for his shift when he saw what was happening and decided to assist.
Officials said Tagle fired three to five shots at Parker and he was likely the one who shot him. Parker was taken to Halifax Hospital, where he is in critical condition.
Chitwood said shootings like this one illustrate the dangers law enforcement officers face every day on the job.
“There is no doubt, like we said last night, that our shooter in this case, the bad guy, was intent on getting away and if he had to kill a cop to do it, he was going to do it,” Chitwood said.
Chitwood and DeLand Police Chief Jason Umberger said they stand behind the men in the field who had to make tough decisions when faced with a dangerous situation.
“We have to react. Police officers and deputies have to react to situations that unfold in front of them and take the best action that we can,” Umberger said.
Both officials agreed that it's a miracle no deputy, officer or bystander was injured.
“There’s an angel that sits on officer’s shoulders at time and I think that last night there was an angel sitting on those three officers’ shoulders that made them be able to go home to their families,” Chitwood said.
WARNING: The body camera footage below could be considered graphic. Viewer discretion is advised.