A Taylor County deputy and two others were shot and a suspect was killed in an exchanged of gunfire at a car dealership Wednesday morning, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Just before 10:30 a.m., Earl Clauge Jr., 51, an employee of Timberland Ford, crashed a vehicle into the front of the dealership, exited the vehicle and began shooting, investigators said.
Taylor County Sheriff's Deputy Robert Lundy was in the dealership having his car serviced and immediately responded, according to the FDLE. Investigators said the two exchanged gunfire, and Clauge was killed.
"I've known him for a while because I went to school with his stepson," Perry resident Michael Parker told WTXL0TV "He's worked there I know for at least 15-20 years and I just couldn't get over the thought. It's just unbelievable. I'm just flabbergasted. I never would've thought he'd done something like that."
Two civilians were shot and are recovering at local hospitals, while three additional victims suffered minor injuries, investigators said.
Officers arrived on scene in less than a minute after Lundy radioed he'd been shot.
Lundy later went into surgery and was in stable but critical condition.
"The selfless actions of this deputy saved many lives today," said Taylor County Sheriff L.E. "Bummy" Williams. "The safety of the citizens of Taylor County is our main concern, and Deputy Lundy was willing to risk his own life today to save others. I am proud of his bravery and his heroism is to be commended. Deputy Lundy, his family and the victims are in my prayers."
Grief counselors and victims' advocates were available to speak to those affected on Wednesday night at at Taylor County Middle School.
The Perry Police Department and Taylor County Sheriff's Office are also investigating, with assistance from the FBI.