NEWBERRY ‒ Barry Heckard, 39, owner of Newberry’s Heckard Doors, 50 S.W. 266th Street, was shot and killed by Alachua County Sheriff Office (ACSO) deputies on Thursday, Sept. 23, as he attempted to elude officers trying to pull him over for a traffic stop.
Deputies say they initially saw a white van at around 8:30 p.m. that was swerving on north State Road 45. Officers attempted to pull the driver over for a suspected DUI, but Heckard sped away. In an effort to stop the fleeing van, officers performed a “pit maneuver” known as a Precision Immobilization Technique in which the right front quarter panel of the police vehicle is on the vehicle’s rear quarter panel.
During the maneuver officers say that’s when Heckard shot at deputies. At least one deputy returned fire at the driver which resulted in Heckard’s death, say ACSO officials.
No deputies were injured in the encounter, which ended at the intersection of State Road 45 and Newberry Road. The intersection was barricaded throughout the night, but was opened at 6:30 a.m. Friday.
Heckard has had a history of being jailed on various charges beginning in 2018. ACSO spokesperson Art Forgey said, “Heckard had been charged with aggravated assault, possession of marijuana and possession of drug equipment in 2018. In 2019 he had a warrant out for grand theft and in 2020 he was charged with contractor fraud. In June,” he said, “Heckard was in violation of probation for grand theft.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement in Jacksonville will help with the investigation. Until the investigation has been completed, all deputies involved will be put on paid administrative leave, which is routine practice. Investigators will determine if the use of force was justified in this shooting.
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