An on-duty Taylor County Sheriff’s Deputy was having his car serviced at a local dealership when an apparently (obviously?) disgruntled current employee of the dealership crashed his truck into the building and came out shooting:
A Taylor County Sheriff’s deputy getting his car fixed at the Timberland Ford dealership jumped into action after a man crashed through the front of the business with his vehicle and opened fire, said Gretl Plessinger, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Gunfire was then exchanged between Deputy Robert Lundy and the man, 51-year-old Earl Edward Clague Jr. of Taylor County, who was killed.
Clague, a current employee at the dealership at the time of the shooting, was using a semi-automatic shotgun, according to Plessinger.
Law enforcement responded within a minute of Lundy’s first report of shots fired.
He underwent surgery this morning and is currently recovering and is in stable but critical condition. He and two others that were shot are expected to survive, Plessinger said.
Details are still rather sketchy, but it appears that the events took place very quickly, with a Florida Department of Law enforcement spokesperson providing the following preliminary timeline:
- 10:28:31 Deputy Lundy radioed shots were fired.
- 10:29:17 Deputy Lundy announced he had been shot.
- 10:29:24 In less than one minute after Deputy Lundy’s announcement of shots fired, officers arrived on scene.
- 11:10 Deputy Lundy went into surgery.
- 4:00 p.m. Deputy Lundy was in stable, but critical condition.
The shooting timeline culled from police radio reports suggest that the shooting was over in much less than 60 seconds, with the suspect dead, the deputy critically injured, and with two others experiencing gunshot wounds. Three others were treated for non-gunshot wounds, presumably during a mad scramble to escape the dealership, which normally has 10-20 people on site at that time of day.
The Sheriff sounds convinced that Deputy Lundy, an ten-year veteran stopped a mass killing from taking place.
“The selfless actions of this deputy saved many lives today,” said Taylor County Sheriff L.E. “Bummy” Williams. “The safety of the citizens of Taylor County is our main concern, and Deputy Lundy was willing to risk his own life today to save others. I am proud of his bravery and his heroism is to be commended. Deputy Lundy, his family and the victims are in my prayers.”
Another news account indicates that the shooter had been employed at the dealership for 15-20 years.
Like the Arapahoe High School shooting in Colorado, this incident was over very quickly because the presence of the much-mocked “good guy with a gun.” Arapahoe ended in just 80 seconds after the shooting began after the cornered shooter committed suicide before he could attack the five class rooms on his list (the majority of killings in Sandy Hook took place in just two classrooms).
This incident at Timberland Ford was over in even less time, with just 46 seconds elapsing from Lundy announcing shots fired to reporting his injuries.
Once again, the only thing that stopped a tragedy from unfolding into a massacre was the presence of a good guy with a gun who happened to be at the right place at the right time. In this instance that good guy was a veteran deputy.
Update: Clague was armed with multiple firearms:
FDLE agents say Earl Edward Clague was firing a Remington 1100 semi-automatic shotgun. They say he had a second fully loaded shotgun and a fully loaded 22 caliber rifle in his truck as well as additional ammunition.
It sounds like Clague was prepared for “New York reloads” (dropping the empty weapon and picking up fully loaded one), perhaps figuring that after he shot through the magazine capacity of both shotguns that he’d have the time to reload them, while still having the .22LR rifle on hand to dissuade any would-be attempts to charge him.
Deputy Robert Lundy, who stopped Clague, is still in critical condition, but is expected to pull through.
Clague was an employee in good standing at the dealership who called in sick yesterday. No motive is known at this time.