BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) — Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey released footage Thursday from a traffic stop that lead to deputies being ambushed.
Deputies say Paris Wilder of Cocoa opened fire on deputies after he was asked to leave a vehicle. The video shows Wilder get out of the back of the car and begin shooting at deputy Brian Potters.
Potters could be seen in the video putting distance between himself and Wilder before yelling that he’s been hit. The footage continues with an exchange of gunfire, where Wilder also appears to be hit before running toward the deputy cruiser.
As deputies take cover, Wilder appears from behind Potters and hits him in the back of the head with the butt of his rifle.
“As the suspect repeatedly batters deputy Potter in the head with the butt of the gun, the two of them fall to the ground,” Ivey said. “The subject continues to strike him in the head.”
Ivey said Deputy Tyler Thoman then saved Potter’s life by firing multiple rounds, “eliminating the threat.”
Potter suffered a gunshot wound, multiple head lacerations, a concussion, and fractures in his face.
Wilder was killed during the shootout.
“As you can clearly see in the video, both of our deputies were in a battle for their lives as this disgusting and evil individual had a blatant disregard for their lives, the lives of others at the scene, and the life of a 2-month-old baby in the car,” Ivey said. “When I tell you, we are blessed that God was watching over our deputies and those present at the scene, I mean it from the bottom of my heart.”
Ivey stated that Wilder was wanted on several warrants, with 23 felony arrests for crimes such as narcotics trafficking, assault, and attempted murder.
“I’m personally sickened that by the fact that this thug with such a violent criminal history was out of jail where he could almost kill two of our deputies,” Ivey said.
Both Potters and Thoman are on paid administrative leave, which is customary when it comes to deputy-involved shootings.
Potters has been a member of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office since March of 2020. Thoman has been with the sheriff’s office since December of 2018.