PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - A Charlotte County Sheriff's sergeant was fatally shot Monday while investigating a domestic disturbance at an apartment complex.
The shooting occurred about 8 p.m. at the Lakes of Tuscana Apartments in Port Charlotte.
Sgt. Michael Wilson, a 20-year veteran, was responding to a physical fight involving 49-year-old Jay Vanko, his wife and son. Police said Vanko immediately shot Wilson from the top of a second-story stairwell, creating a "fatal funnel" and striking the officer in the chest above his bullet-proof vest.
Investigators believe Vanko then turned the gun on himself.
Deputies, with assistance from the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office SWAT team, used a tactical robot and found the suspect dead inside the apartment.
Authorities said Vanko had no criminal record but media outlets report that police had responded to prior domestic disturbances at the apartment. Investigators found two weapons at the scene. According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Vanko was known as a marksman who competed in shooting competitions.
The 42-year-old Wilson is survived by his wife and three children. The Herald-Tribune reports that over his career, the sergeant worked in the jail, road patrol and street crimes divisions of the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office, in addition to serving as a school resource officer.
"The work we perform each day is inherently dangerous and deputies never know what they are going to find when going to work each day or responding to a call," said Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight. "Today we are dealing with that horrendous reality."
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