Lake Wales, Florida police officers were shot after being lured to a home with a fake 911 call on Tuesday. John Goepferich, 59, allegedly called 911 and stated that there were gunshots coming from his home at 743 Hillside Avenue. Goepferich reportedly sent his wife on an errand before calling for police assistance from his cell phone.
The Lake Wales police officers rushed to the scene and were immediately met with gunfire. According to local news reports, the alleged Florida gunman fired more than 100 rounds in the gun fight that lasted about 15 minutes.
A neighbor who was at home with her children at the time said she first thought a multitude of firecrackers were being set off outside. When the woman walked outdoors she saw Polk County, Florida deputies next door with their guns drawn – she quickly rushed her children into the bathroom for safety.
John Goepferich is reportedly the father of Polk sheriff’s deputys Christine Kivi and also the parent of JR Goepferich, a technology staffer in the same office, according to the Lakeland Ledger. Goepferich is now being treated at a local hospital for wounds he sustained during the gunfight with the Lake Wales police officers. The suspected gunman reportedly used an unknown variety of handgun in the attack.
The Lake Wales police officers shot during the response to the fake 911 call were Two officers John Schwarze, 45, and Benjamin Metz, 38. Both of the men sustained non-life threatening injuries and were sent home from the hospital earlier today. Officer John Schwarze, a K-9 handler, was transported to the Lake Wales Medical Center. Officer Benjamin Metz was life flighted to the Lakeland Regional Health, Lake Wales Police Chief Chris Velasquez. told the media. “He called us and lured us to come to his house, and as soon as we arrived, he started shooting,” Chief Valesquez added.
A motive in the Lake Wales police shooting remains unknown. “It’s by the grace of God that we don’t have two dead police officers,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. The Florida sheriff also added that within 5 to maybe 10 minutes after the fist shots were fired, about 50 law police officers and deputies flocked to the scene to help.
According to a witness statement to 10 News the Lake Wales police officers said, “Drop it,” before bullets began flying. The witness also said he heard a pause in the gunfire and then the shooting resumed.
[Image via: 10 News Tampa/Sarasota]