|On February 6th, 2015 the Polk County (FL) Sheriff's Office SWAT Team deployed to a barricaded gunman in Winter Haven, Florida. During negotiations the suspect made several threats concerning his ability and willingness to set off an unknown number of improvised explosive devices he prepared and intended to use against law enforcement.
The suspect's vehicle was blocking the entrance and surrounding the vehicle were several oxygen bottles, acetylene bottles, and other containers believed to be holding flammable materials. As chemical agents were deployed, the suspect immediately engaged SWAT with a high volume of rifle gunfire.
During this initial onslaught, PCSO Tac-Medic, John "George" Mikula, was shot by the suspect. Team members performed an emergency rescue, while other team members directed gunfire at the suspect's location. An armored vehicle was utilized to shield deputies from gunfire resulting in that vehicle being shot forty one (41) times.
In addition to the gunfire, one of the acetylene/oxygen bottles that the suspect had placed in the area exploded, with the resulting fireball completely engulfing the armored vehicle.
Once the Tac-Medic had been successfully evacuated from the scene, a prolonged firefight with the suspect ensued in which over 250 rounds were exchanged between the suspect and SWAT members. As this was occurring, the suspect initiated a fire inside the building.
This debrief will discuss the incident in detail, as well as share lessons learned as a result of this high-risk incident. |