MULBERRY, Florida - Deputies arrived at a home on Poinsetta Drive in Mulberry Sunday to a hail of gunfire and a suicidal man armed with high powered rifles.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says dispatchers were first alerted to a problem at the home around noon Sunday. They received information the man might have been wanted to kill himself.
"He just went crazy. He wanted them to kill him. He wanted to die," said Bill Hobson, who owns a home next door.
Sheriff Judd says 42-year-old Doug Meadows didn't only have a death wish for himself, he was trying to take deputies out too.
"What makes him particularly dangerous is we have no history on him. We have no calls for service at the house. This is your average, hard working Polk County family, and all of a sudden he's a madman in a rage," said Sheriff Judd. "He did his very best to kill three or four of our deputies and supervisors this afternoon."
Lt. Terry Storie, 47, a district supervisor for the Sheriff's Office Alpha Platoon, was wounded once in the leg when a bullet ricocheted off the pavement.
"He really had the deputies pinned behind the car, so he's really lucky to be alive, because he had no protection except behind the car."
"He got shot and he started limping over here," said neighbor David Vela, who was outside when the shooting started. "I wondered what was happening. My heart was bumping real quick and everything."
Another neighbor describes the chaos as the shooting started. "I'm freaking out. I'm thinking, 'I hope no one gets hurt.' Everyone is out here, there's shots going on, there's a bunch of children running around," recalls Justin Wiggins. "My friend's house over here actually has gun holes on it."
Bill Hobson owns the home next to where the shooting suspect lives. "I got over here and there was a hundred people here ... at least a hundred policemen or more, armored tanks and everything you could think of."
Hobson says he arrived to find his front door rammed in by deputies trying to take cover in his home. "They got in the back corner where they could shoot across if they had to."
Sheriff Judd says among the biggest challenges was determining where the gunfire was coming from. "He has dark shades, they're turned down, you can see where bullet holes came through the shades. It's absolutely impossible to see where the rounds were coming from, other than they were coming from different locations of the residence," said Judd.
The sheriff says a SWAT team robot, which also took gunfire, used a remote camera to help bring the standoff to an end.
"Our SWAT folks introduced gas to the house. As soon as the pepper spray or the gas was introduced to the house, he immediately gave up ... came out without a firearm in hand," said Judd.
As of midnight, the suspect still had not been booked into the Polk County Jail. The sheriff says he's expected to face numerous charges of attempted first degree murder on a law enforcement officer.