By Madeleine List
The Charlotte Observer
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POLK CITY, Fla. — A 21-year-old deputy was shot and killed while serving a warrant by other deputies that were shooting at the suspect, a Florida sheriff said.
The deputy, identified as Blane Lane, was serving a warrant for a failure to appear on a felony meth charge at around 3 a.m. on Oct. 4 in Polk City, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said during a news conference streamed on Facebook.
Deputies on scene began shooting at the suspect, who was holding a BB gun that resembled a firearm, according to a news release from the agency. Lane was struck by a bullet from one of the other deputies’ guns.
Lane was taken to a trauma center where he was pronounced dead, Judd said.
Four members of the sheriff’s department arrived at a mobile home just after 3 a.m. to serve a warrant to Cheryl Williams, 46, Judd said during the news conference.
Lane got into a “tactical position” outside the trailer while the other deputies entered, Judd said.
While inside the mobile home, Williams appeared holding what looked like a gun and pointed it at the deputies, Judd said. Two of the deputies, Sgt. Michael Brooks and Deputy Johnny Holsonback III, fired at Williams, striking her twice.
A witness told investigators that at that point, Lane, who was standing outside the trailer adjacent to the room where the conflict was taking place, clutched his shoulder and went to one knee. Another deputy on scene ran to help him.
Investigators later found that Lane had been struck in the shoulder, and a bullet entered his chest cavity, Judd said.
The bullet was fired by one of the deputies that shot at Williams, he said.
“All of this breaks our heart, but in our early analysis we find that Deputy Lane did exactly what he should have,” he said.
Detectives are investigating the shooting, and Judd said the other deputies on scene are “absolutely devastated.”
“Anytime you lose a colleague, and these folks depend on each other for their very lives every day, it’s very difficult,” he said.
Williams was also taken to a hospital. She is in custody on a charge of second-degree murder. Judd said she was the one who provoked the shooting.
“She clearly and unequivocally wanted to put us into a gun fight with her, and/or a suicide by cop,” he said.
Judd called Lane, who was sworn in as a deputy sheriff in January, “the epitome of what American law enforcement is about.”
He had a 3-year-old and always dreamed of becoming a law enforcement officer, Judd said.
“He was eager, he was brilliant, he learned,” Judd said. “He absorbed information like a sponge, and he was careful when he did his job.”
Judd said a funeral for Lane was scheduled for next week.
Other law enforcement offices expressed their condolences in the comments of the news conference post.
“Devastating loss of a young deputy,” the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office wrote. “Hearts are broken and we mourn with you.”
“We are so incredibly sorry to hear this,” wrote the City of Tallahassee Police Department. “Our hearts go out to all of you.”
Polk City is about 50 miles southwest of Orlando.
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