Douglas Meadows of Polk County, Florida was arrested Sunday after he was accused of shooting a police officer in the leg during a standoff at his home in Mulberry, news sources indicate. The officer, identified as a 47-year-old man, was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Meadows, 42, was booked into the Polk County Jail on charges of first degree murder; he was also hit with a slew of weapon violation charges. It is unclear whether a bail bond was set. It is also not yet known whether Meadows has hired a lawyer.
According to reports, Meadows does not have criminal record or a history of mental illness. The events leading to this recent incident have yet to be disclosed. Reports say Meadows had spent the day fishing with his wife, during which time he consumed some alcohol. The incident began sometime after the couple got home.
Police arrived at Meadows’s home sometime Sunday afternoon after someone called to report that Meadows intended to harm himself. Police say Meadows was armed with a scoped hunting rifle when they first arrived, and they allegedly heard Meadows order his wife to leave the home because he planned to “end it all.” The woman emerged from the home sometime after the declaration.
Police surrounded the home and Meadows allegedly opened fire on the officers. A witness nearby heard a shot and ducked behind a nearby home for cover, sources indicate. Although none of the shots directly hit anyone, one of them apparently struck the ground, bounced up, and entered one officer’s leg. The victim was identified as a 19-year police veteran who was once in the United States Marine Corps. Paramedics rushed him to the hospital, where he was listed as in non-life threatening condition. His name has not been released as of yet.
Police called a SWAT team to the house and brought in an unmanned robot, known as the iCore Caliber robot, to help diffuse the situation. The machine, which is designed to disarm explosives, approached the house and took a number of direct shots. The shots caused damage but did not destroy the residence or hurt Meadows. Officers on the scene said at no point did they have a clear shot at Meadows, or they likely would have taken it. However, police officers never fired a single shot at the home, reports say. “If we had seen a target, we would have shot,” a police spokesperson said. “This man was out of control and was on a mission to kill deputies.”
At some point, officers hurled gas canisters into the home to smoke Meadows out. Meadows was forced to leave the home and give himself up to police, which he did peacefully. Police on the scene said the weapon Meadows was using “was capable of very accurate shots from a distance. Fortunately, he had been drinking so his aim was little off.”
Thankfully, no one was seriously injured in the alleged standoff and the gunshots that ensued. Police are still investigating the incident.