FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Departments : Shots Fired

Shots Fired: Panama City, Florida 12/14/2010

When a gunman interrupted a school board meeting, Chief Mike Jones was forced to respond.

May 17, 2011  |  by - Also by this author

Play PodcastPlay Shots Fired Podcast

VIDEO: Florida School Board Shooting (Full)

As Duke paced back and forth in front of the board, he attempted to explain his personal predicament. His wife was out of work, their health benefits had run out, he was broke, and he was at his wit's end.

Chief Jones stood outside the board room door and slowly cracked it open. He could hear School Board Member Jerry Register make a personal appeal to the gunman.

"Please, just talk to us. If I can help you get your wife a job somewhere else, I'd be glad to do that," Register said.

As Register and Husfelt continued to try to reason with Duke, Jones opened the door further and placed one foot across the threshold.

"Hey," Jones called out in an effort to distract Duke. "You got a real gun there?"

"Come on in," Duke's invitation had all the warmth of a game show host.

Jones refused the invite. "Well, I want you to come on out," he said.

Duke started toward Jones, who backed up from the door, closed it, and squared his body toward it, so as to engage Duke with his .38 when the door reopened.

But as the seconds ticked by and Duke failed to materialize, Jones realized that the man had recommitted his attentions to the board.

Here It Goes

Inside the board room, Superintendent Husfelt tried to save the others by offering himself in sacrifice.

"Listen, I'm the one that signed the (termination) papers, right?" Husfelt said. Motioning to the rest of the board, he pleaded, "Will you let them go? You're obviously upset with me, so why are they here?"

But Duke wouldn't have any of it.

Husfelt made one final plea. "Here's what I don't want to happen. I don't want anybody to get hurt. I've got a feeling that what you want is for the cops to come in and kill you because you're mad. This isn't worth it."

Outside the board room, Jones regarded his .38. If he engaged Duke-and it was fast looking inevitable that he would have to-he'd be outgunned. Getting himself killed would only raise any ensuing body count and fail to save the men inside. Fifty feet outside the room Jones' car was parked, his .40 caliber Glock inside. Hoping that Husfelt could keep Duke distracted for a few seconds more, he ran for it.

Jones reached his car, grabbed his ballistic resistant vest and threw it over his head, then grabbed the Glock and two magazines, and quickly got back to the door.

Peeking through a crack in the door, Jones saw Duke point the gun squarely at the superintendent.

"Please don't," Husfelt pleaded. "Please don't."

Here it goes, Jones thought. Knowing that he didn't have any more time, he yanked open the door just as Duke pointed the gun right in the superintendent's face and fired point blank. Miraculously, the bullet went low, striking the desktop and furrowing into the Formica before ricocheting straight up and lodging into a three-inch-thick notebook atop the desk. Papers flew up in the air as the superintendent grabbed his chest and fell to the ground.

At the sound of Jones' entry, Duke reflexively discharged a second round into the floor. It was the spilt-second distraction that Jones needed.

Tags: Shots Fired, Florida School Board Shooting, Active Shooters


Be the first to comment on this story





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent Stories

Inside the Mind of a Cold Case Detective
The first thing a good investigator, especially a cold case investigator, needs to know is...
Concerns of Police Survivors Healing Hearts
Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) welcomes with open arms those who have suffered...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine