Man shot dead by Highlands deputy after shooting officer in bulletproof vest

Highlands County

HIGHLANDS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A 30-year-old man was shot and killed Thursday after opening fire on Highlands County deputies and hitting one in his bulletproof vest, authorities said.

The incident occurred around 9:30 p.m. at a home in the 9100 block of Markland Lane in Sebring.

According to a report, deputies had responded to the home to interview Kelly Townsend, who had an active warrant for her arrest. While interviewing Townsend, they saw Matthew Nocerino, who had felony warrants for burglary and theft.

Deputies ordered Nocerino to stop, but he took off running and led them on a chase.

One deputy fired a taser and hit Nocerino in the waist area, but he continued running and went into a bedroom, where he pulled out a handgun and started firing at deputies, hitting one in his bulletproof vest.

A deputy returned fire and Nocerino was shot several times. Paramedics responded, but he died at the scene.

Deputies said the officer was taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries and has since been released.

All deputies involved in the incident were placed on administrative leave, which is standard protocol for officer-involved shootings.

Deputies said Necorino had served several stints in prison for charges including battery on a law enforcement officer.

After the shooting, Townsend was booked into the Highlands County Jail on a number of active warrants.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State’s Attorney’s Office will be investigating the shooting.


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