An Okaloosa County deputy who was shot multiple times by a suspect in Shalimar this morning has died at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.
A longtime veteran of the sheriff’s office and former airman in the U.S. Air Force, Myers rejoined the agency to serve part-time after retiring in 2013.
64-year old Deputy Myers retired from the OCSO in November 2013 after nearly 25 years with the agency. He was re-hired on a part-time basis in January of this year to assist with Civil Process.
Investigators say Myers had just finished serving a domestic violence injunction at Cotton and Gates Law Firm on Plew Avenue around 8:20 a.m. Deputy Myers was walking outside when he was shot multiple times in the back, including a gunshot wound to the rear of his head.
Investigators say the suspect in the shooting, 33-year old Joel Dixon Smith of Navarre, then drove to the Comfort Inn and Suites in Niceville, where he barricaded himself inside a room.
The OCSO Special Response Team responded and evacuated the building, setting up a perimeter.
After an hour and a half of negotiations, the suspect came out of his room with a weapon at 11:13 a.m. Deputies responded and the suspect was struck and taken to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center where he later died. No members of the SRT Unit were injured.
“Deputy Myers has been a treasured part of this agency’s family since 1989,” said Sheriff Larry Ashley. “He served this community with distinction for decades. He was loved, admired, and respected for his dedication to the law enforcement profession. He loved photography and 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. We pray for his soul and for his family and we ask that the community pray for them as well, and for all the men and women who have the courage in these troubled times to put their lives on the line for others.”
“We also want to express our sincere gratitude to all of you who have reached out to our agency at this time with words and gestures of support, and to all the agencies which assisted us today at the scene of the shooting and in Niceville.”
Florida Governor Rick Scott released the following statement:
“Today, our hearts are broken to learn of the death of Deputy Bill Myers. Florida’s law enforcement officers risk their lives daily to protect others, and any act of violence against these brave heroes is shameful and cowardly. My wife, Ann, and I send our sincerest condolences to Deputy Myers’ family and brothers and sisters in Florida’s law enforcement community. I am grateful for the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Department and all law enforcement and first responders whose immediate response helped protect innocent lives during this horrific incident.”