Florida authorities on Monday released video footage of a deadly police shooting that left a suspect with a lengthy criminal background dead and his hostage injured over the weekend.
The shooting happened Sunday night when bondsmen were looking for 53-year-old Ronnie Clark for a warrant over his failure to appear in court on drug charges, Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons told reporters during a news conference.
Clark had a long criminal history, with 58 felony convictions, and he was incarcerated three times.
Deputies arrived around 5 p.m. to serve a warrant on Clark and found him in a tent with a woman being held against her will, authorities said. He also emailed and texted others saying he was “going to shoot it out with deputies,” Simmons said.
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A five-hour standoff ensued as authorities tried negotiating with Clark. A sheriff’s drone showed Clark holding a knife to the woman’s throat, Simmons said.
“This tough guy has got her as a human shield,” he said.
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A deputy approached Clark and the hostage and fired a single shot, killing him. Simmons said the bullet fired at Clark may have struck the hostage. She is recovering in a hospital, he said.
“In situations like this, we care about human life. We care more about the hostage than the hostage-taker,” Simmons said. “The deputy had an opportunity to try to end this, because we cannot let this vehicle go. Our criminal escalated these events, and it cost him his life.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is now investigating the incident and the deputy who fired the shot was placed on administrative leave, authorities said.
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