Polk sheriff: Knife-wielding suspect dead after being shot by deputy

Polk County

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says a man is dead after being shot by a deputy in Lakeland.

Just after 2 p.m. Monday, detectives were in south Lakeland in an area that had recently seen an increase in vehicular burglaries. While the detectives were there, they noticed a car driving erratically nearby and started following it.

Deputies say the suspect, identified as Ryan L. Smith, 44, eventually got out and started running toward a swampy area. At some point, Sheriff Grady Judd says Smith turned to the deputies who were chasing him and showed a folding pocket knife while saying, “shoot me, shoot me.” The deputies said they noticed cuts on the man’s neck.

According to investigators, Smith then ran away and ran through the Presidential Lane neighborhood and got into a shed. Deputies noticed Smith trying to close the shed shortly before Sheriff Judd says he sprang out of the shed and jumped a fence and landed near a deputy.

That’s when authorities say he displayed the knife a second time. Due to how close the suspect was, Sheriff Judd says one deputy fired his gun several times and hit Smith.

Smith was taken to the hospital where he later died.

Sheriff Judd says investigators found meth, marijuana and K2 in the suspect’s car.

He has an extensive criminal history, consisting of 22 felony charges, 25 misdemeanor charges and five incarcerations in prison.

The deputy who shot Smith has been identified as Sergeant Eric Daniel, a supervisor in the southwest district, who has been a deputy with the sheriff’s office for over 11 years.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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