LAKE PLACID, Fla. — A call about a wrong-way driver ended in a deadly shootout Friday morning with law enforcement officers in the Lake Placid area.
The Highlands County Sheriff's Office says it was first alerted overnight to a van going the wrong way on the southbound side of US-27 near State Road 70. Just after 2:30 a.m., deputies spotted the white Econoline van heading north – now driving the correct way.
Authorities stopped the van a mile north of Sun ‘n Lakes Boulevard.
Investigators say 68-year-old driver Robert W. McNamara was the only person inside the van, and a deputy began writing him a citation for failing to maintain a lane.
While that citation was being written, McNamara is accused of becoming "argumentative" and refusing to stay in his seat. The sheriff's office says he got out of the van holding a pistol-grip shotgun and fired once at the deputy writing the ticket.
Both the deputy and a backup deputy reportedly fired back, hitting McNamara "several times."
"Our deputies did their best to provide Mr. McNamara medical treatment until Highlands County Emergency Medical Services arrived on scene and at 3:23 a.m. pronounced Mr. McNamara deceased," Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman said.
According to Sheriff Blackman, McNamara had a "criminal history out of both Florida and Connecticut for narcotics and paraphernalia possession."
Neither deputy was hurt. They've both been put on administrative leave, which is protocol while cases like this are investigated.
John Kromholz, assistant state attorney for the 10th Judicial Circuit, will spearhead the investigation.