Florida deputies ambushed by man with AR-15 style rifle during traffic stop

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Florida deputies ambushed by man with AR-15 style rifle during traffic stop

Two Florida sheriff’s deputies were ambushed during a traffic stop after a man armed with an AR-15 style rifle stormed out of a vehicle and opened fire on them, terrifying new dashcam video shows.

Brevard County Sheriff’s Deputies Brian Potters and Tyler Thoman were targeted by gunman Paris Wilder, 38, during the stop in West Melbourne on Aug. 30.

The gunman ended up being shot dead as deputies returned fire, while deputy Potters suffered gunshot wounds to his leg and buttocks.

Footage released by the sheriff’s office on Friday showed the deputies speaking to two men outside the stopped car just moments before the ambush unfolded. It wasn’t immediately clear why deputies stopped the men.

Deputy Potters could be seen joking with Wilder as he sat in the backseat after the deputy spotted a two-year-old child and dog sitting next to him.

Deputy Brian Potters
Deputy Brian Potters was performing a traffic stop when the incident wildly escalated.
Brevard County Sheriff’s Office
Deputy Tyler Thoman
Deputy Tyler Thoman was targeted with Potters by Paris Wilde.
Brevard County Sheriff’s Office
The officers had made the traffic stop before the scene escalated.
The officers had made the traffic stop before the scene escalated.
Brevard County Sheriff’s Office
Potters was shot as Wilder took out the gun.
Potters was shot as Wilder took out the gun.
Brevard County Sheriff’s Office

Their exchange took a turn after the deputy asked Wilder to step out of the vehicle.

Wilder burst out of the car with the rifle and immediately opened fire on the two deputies, the footage showed.

Deputy Potters was shot as he tried to take cover behind his vehicle.

Wilder then chased the two deputies even as they fired at him. He then repeatedly struck Deputy Potters in the head with his gun.

The sheriff’s office said Deputy Thoman fired the fatal shots at Wilder as the gunman was attacking Deputy Potters.

Wilder was described by the sheriff’s office as a career criminal with 40 prior arrests.

“For those out there who might be foolish enough to ask why we shot him so many times, that answer is simple — because evil can never be dead enough,” Sheriff Wayne Ivey said.

Potters was wounded in the leg and buttocks.
Potters was wounded in the leg and buttocks.
Brevard County Sheriff’s Office
Dashcam footage captured the dramatic scenes of the traffic strop turned shooting.
Dashcam footage captured the dramatic scenes of the traffic strop turned shooting.
Brevard County Sheriff’s Office
Deputies at the scene.
The deputies shot back at killed Wilder in the crossfire.
Brevard County Sheriff’s Office

“This individual had absolutely no regard for human life and was focused on only one thing — killing our deputies to avoid arrest as he knew he was facing several minimum mandatory prison sentences in his pending cases.” 

The sheriff said Potters is expected to make a full recovery.

The two other men who were at the traffic stop initially fled when the gunfire erupted but returned to the scene shortly after and are now assisting with the investigation.

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