Florida man smashes beer bottle over his head and is shot by deputy who thought the sound was a gunshot

A Florida man smashed a beer bottle over his head, prompting a deputy who thought the popping sound was a gunshot to shoot him, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office reported Saturday.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said deputies were trying to arrest 27-year-old Matthew Correa when it happened because he was a suspect in a series of crimes including an armed robbery. Correa was in a van when he got up through the sunroof with a gun in one hand and a bottle of Busch Light in the other. He then broke the bottle above his head.

“The sergeant who was behind Correa and unable to see the bottle, heard the popping sound and believed Correa had shot his deputies,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release. “The sergeant fired a shot at Correa, hitting him in the neck.”

Correa was taken to hospital with injuries that were not thought to be life threatening. No MPs were injured, the agency reported.

The strange chain of events began around 8:19 a.m. Saturday when Correa and a female companion drove to a supermarket in Winter Haven in a white Chevy Tahoe. There, Correa stole a red Toyota pickup truck. The Tahoe was later found abandoned on State Road 540 east of Thornhill Road, deputies said.

At around 8:45 a.m., Correa and his companion entered a tire store near Winter Haven and demanded money from an employee. When the employee said there was no money, Correa pulled a gun out of a sports bag, pointed the gun at the employee, and began looking for money. Correa and his companion left when a customer arrived, deputies said.

At some point, Correa and her companion separated.

As deputies searched for the pair, the red pickup truck was seen on US 17 near Cypress Gardens Boulevard. The deputies attempted to stop the truck with arresting sticks, but their attempts were unsuccessful. Correa, who was driving, tried to hit a deputy with the truck, deputies said.

Correa pulled into the eastbound lane of State Road 540, where deputies were able to circle the truck — very close, by the way, to where the Tahoe had been abandoned.

In the truck, Correa pointed the gun under his chin and told the deputies to kill him. Deputies tried to defuse the situation, but Correa then stood up through the sunroof and held the gun “in a threatening manner”, a press release said.

“He then fell from the sunroof out of sight for a moment, then stood up with a gun in one hand and a bottle of Busch Light beer in the other, which he crushed against his forehead, breaking the bottle. “, reads the press release. .

It was then that the sergeant, thinking the snap was a gunshot, shot Correa.

“Thank goodness none of our deputies were injured today,” Judd said. “The suspect made several bad choices this morning, including the one that forced our sergeant to shoot him.”

Deputies are still trying to find out who the female companion was and are asking anyone with information to call them at (863) 298-6200 or Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS,

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Correa, who faces multiple charges, has a criminal record that includes a charge of burglary with home invasion, and he spent five years in prison.

A standard review of the shooting by the Sheriff’s Office and the State’s Attorney’s Office is underway.

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