Florida Sheriff: Traffic Stop Ambush Shows What’s Wrong With Criminal Justice System

Florida Sheriff: Traffic Stop Ambush Shows What's Wrong With Criminal Justice System

By Charlie McCarthy | Thursday, 16 September 2021 10:28 AM

A routine traffic stop that turned violent after two Florida deputies were ambushed and left one person dead was a perfect example of "what is wrong with our criminal justice system," the Brevard County sheriff said.

Dashcam video showed what appeared to be a routine traffic stop of a car that had three adults and a 2-month-old infant inside. The incident turned into a deadly shootout with a man described as a "violent career criminal," ABC7 reported.

Sheriff Wayne Ivey briefed the public days after the Aug. 30 shooting in West Melbourne, Florida.

"This case is a perfect example of what is wrong with our criminal justice system," Ivey said, Space Coast Daily reported.

"When a registered career criminal, with 23 felony charges, 17 misdemeanor charges, multiple convictions for violent offenses, and two active and pending drug trafficking cases is out on our streets where he can attempt to kill our deputies and put others’ lives at risks, something is wrong with our system. And it's time that we, as a society of law-abiding citizens, say enough is enough."

The "career criminal" — later identified as Paris Wilder, 38, of Cocoa, Florida — exited the car and began shooting at the deputies. After his weapon apparently jammed, Wilder used the butt of his rifle to beat Deputy Brian Potters before being shot fatally by Deputy Tyler Thoman.

Potters, the second deputy on the scene, suffered a gunshot wound to the lower leg, a concussion, fractures to the orbital bone and sinuses, and multiple head lacerations. Thoman, the first officer on scene, was uninjured during the incident.

"As I have said several times before, if you point a gun at one of my deputies, you just guaranteed yourself a trip to one of three locations — the hospital, the morgue, or if you are real lucky, the hospital and jail!" Ivey said.

"Let there be no doubt, this individual got exactly what he deserved. And to those out there that might be foolish enough to ask why we shot him so many times, the answer is simple: evil can never be dead enough."

Ivey described the incident as the dashcam video played.

"At one point during the traffic stop the passenger at the back seat of the car with a 2-month-old baby was asked to exit the vehicle at which time he immediately exited and produced a short stock rifle when he began firing at the deputy closest to him," Ivey said.

"When I tell you that we are blest that God was watching over our deputies and those present at the scene, I mean it from the bottom of my heart."