NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. — More details from Saturday’s fatal police-involved shooting between an armed suspect, a Volusia County Sheriff’s deputy, and New Smyrna Beach police were released earlier this morning, including the names of some individuals directly involved, and bodycam video of the confrontation’s final moments.
The footage released by VCSO is that of 24-year-old deputy Brady Bergeron:
CONTENT WARNING- GUNFIRE, STRONG LANGUAGE, DEATH
Around 4 p.m. on Saturday, an armed suspect later identified by Volusia Sheriff Mike Chitwood as 25-year-old Matthew Thomas fled from a Port Orange police officer during an attempted traffic stop, according to a VCSO press release.
As Thomas drove to New Smyrna Beach, upon reaching the area of Turnbull St and Industrial Park Ave, deputy Bergeron deployed stop sticks, causing Thomas to crash and abandon his vehicle on foot; Thomas ran into a self-storage facility, firing at nearby officers and managing to hit one of them in the upper leg, according to VCSO deputies.
During a press conference this morning, NSBPD Chief Mike Coffin said that police fired upon Thomas moments later, killing him:
“[Thomas] made some bad decisions yesterday, and those bad decisions cost his life,” Coffin said.
“He had the opportunity on more than one occasion to stop for the police [...] when he was cornered at the mini storage warehouse, instead of surrendering and facing his day in court, he chose to shoot it out with the police---bad decision---so, he was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Sheriff Chitwood recounted the event from deputy Bergeron’s perspective:
“As they’re firing into the storage facility, as he’s firing back at them, and there’s a point in time---you’ll see it towards the end of the video---he emerges from the storage facility, and that’s when the officers were able to put him down,” Chitwood said.
Sheriff Chitwood lauded the response from all LEOs involved, saying that they did an outstanding job.
Chief Coffin identified the wounded officer as NSBPD Corporal Ralph Hunnefeld, who he says is in good spirits and is expected to make a full recovery at Halifax Medical Center.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating this shooting at the time of this report; following standard protocol, deputy Bergeron, along with NSBPD officers Hunnefeld, David McCallister and Margaret Deal have been temporarily placed on administrative leave, according to a VCSO press release.