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Man killed, officer wounded in New Smyrna Beach shooting, deputies say

According to investigators, Matthew Thomas was at a known drug location when officers found his car

Large police presence in New Smyrna Beach
Large police presence in New Smyrna Beach

A man was killed and a New Smyrna Beach police officer was wounded during a shooting on Saturday afternoon, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

The man was identified as 25-year-old Matthew Thomas of Holly Hill by Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood.

The incident started around 4 p.m. when a Port Orange police officer tried to stop the man for a traffic violation after he was driving recklessly at a high speed, deputies said.

An armed suspect who fled from police this afternoon in Port Orange shot and wounded a New Smyrna Beach police officer...

Posted by New Smyrna Beach Police Department on Saturday, November 21, 2020

Thomas then drove towards New Smyrna Beach, where he crashed outside of a storage facility in the area of Turnbull Street and Industrial Park Avenue, deputies said. Thomas fled on foot and started firing at police from the roof of a storage facility, deputies said.

Thomas was later shot and killed by a New Smyrna Beach police officer and Volusia County deputy who returned fire, according to deputies.

One of the responding officers, Corporal Ralph Hunnefeld, was shot in the upper leg and was taken to the hospital. Hunnefeld is reportedly in good spirits with his family at his side, deputies said.

Corporal Ralph Hunnefeld

Posted by New Smyrna Beach Police Department on Sunday, November 22, 2020

Chitwood said Thomas has a lengthy criminal history and has been arrested 25 times.

Deputies said the shooting was captured on a body camera and the footage could be made available Sunday morning.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is conducting an investigation into the shooting. All officers who fired their weapons are on administrative leave during the investigation.

Officials have released the body-worn camera footage from the shooting. The video can be viewed here.


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