A veteran sheriff’s deputy who was shot and killed while serving a domestic violence restraining order had come out of retirement to earn money for trips to Disney World with his young granddaughter. The suspect was later killed in a confrontation with police.
Okaloosa County Deputy Bill Myers, 64, died Tuesday after he was shot multiple times in the head and back.
“He had an ability to make those around him smile, especially his young granddaughter who he adored and took to Disney World as often as he could,” Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley said, fighting tears during a news conference late Tuesday.
Myers, a 25-year department veteran, had retired in 2013 but returned to work in January, Ashely said.
“He was a part of our family. We are a family here,” Ashley said.
Joel Dixon Smith, 33, was being served a domestic violence restraining order at the lawyer’s office just blocks from the sheriff’s office. He was supposed to be turning over his guns to Myers, 64, when he pulled out a concealed weapon and shot the deputy multiple times, authorities said.
Smith, a postal worker, fled in his vehicle to a Comfort Suites hotel about 10 miles away in Niceville, where he had previously booked a room. He barricaded himself inside and deputies eventually fired tear gas into his room. He charged out firing and was fatally shot by deputies, Ashley said.
No one else was hurt.
Smith had been arrested in 2008 for domestic battery, Ashley said, but had no other details. The restraining order was meant to protect Smith’s wife.
Smith was a rural Postal Service carrier, beginning in Niceville in 2013, the agency said in a statement.
Annie Allen works at an awning business next to the law firm. Allen said she and her boss, store owner David Wray, were starting their day when as many as eight gunshots rang out.
“We heard `pop, pop, pop,’” she said.
Allen called 911, and Wray went to check things out.
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