A large group of Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce members sat in awe as they listened to Capt. Ed Tamayo, commander of the Bravo Substation in Lehigh explain what happened to two local deputies to earn them the Chamber’s Deputies of the Month Award.

Honored at the meeting were Sgt. Patrick McDonald and Deputy Ryan Justham.

Tamayo said that on April 24 of this year, deputies were called to a home in Lehigh with a report of a suicide. He said that deputies were dealing with one deceased person on the scene and then were told it was a suicide but that there was a second person inside who had run into the woods who was also suicidal.

But before running into the woods, McDonald called additional units and knew the house had to be cleared first.

“With a tactical approach, Sgt. McDonald and Deputy Ryan Justham made a proper search of the house. Justham found a highly concealed suspect in a bedroom under the bed. When he looked down, he saw clothes moving,” the captain said.

Justham and another officer ordered the man out while McDonald and two additional deputies entered the house.

The suspect, armed with a machine gun, according to Tamayo, refused to surrender and began shooting at Justham and his backup.

“An officer with Justham had to take cover in a bathroom that shared the wall with the room the suspect firing on the officers, Tamayo said.

Then Justham took a tactical position in the kitchen and returned fire. Both McDonald and Justham maneuvered tactically, Tamayo said, by switching positions of cover while the other returned gunfire suppressing the suspect’s gunfire.

The two deputies were able to stop the threat and the suspect firing the machine gun was fatally wounded and his weapon was secured by McDonald.

Source: Mel Toadvine for Lehigh Acres Citizen.

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