Investigators said Friday they have retrieved a rifle, 13 shell casings and a fully loaded magazine with 60 rounds of ammunition, presumably discarded by a man who fired upon police Thursday night in Juno Beach.
Police believe that man is Wayne Smith, 59, who had several less violent encounters with authorities in the last two weeks and is now in the Palm Beach County Jail facing charges that include attempted first degree murder of a law enforcement officer and five counts of aggravated assault, said Juno Beach Police spokesman Lt. David Gregg.
Thursday night, a resident in the area of Ocean Trace called police around 10:30 p.m. to report a man walking down the street apparently armed with a rifle or shotgun.
When the first officer arrived, he spotted Smith walking east on the sidewalk along Universe Boulevard. The officer pulled around behind Smith and put a spotlight on him; but then had to run for cover when Smith leveled a rifle at him and fired, Gregg said.
Smith continued to head for the intersection at U.S. 1 about the same time more officers from both Juno Beach and Jupiter police departments arrived at the intersection. Smith fired at them as well, before running into the Waterford retirement community, Gregg said.
Officers with those departments and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s helicopter began to search, establishing a perimeter in the area.
They found Smith shortly after midnight unarmed hiding behind a planter near his third-floor condominium at Ocean Trace, and arrested him, Gregg said.
They found the rifle near the intersection where Smith is accused of firing at the Juno Beach and Jupiter officers who arrived as backup to the first officer. The fully loaded magazine and additional boxes of ammunition were found in the 800 block of Uno Lago Drive where it intersects with Universe Boulevard -- near both Smith’s home, and the road police say he was on when he fired his first shots.
Police first encountered Smith July 19 after the responded to a report of an accidental injury, and found Smith with minor injuries he said he got in a fall, Gregg said.
Days later, Smith called police to report a burglary, but it turns out, Gregg said, that the alleged burglar was in fact a neighbor knocking on the door to alert Smith that his car door was open.
Early Monday morning, police returned. “We had a report of him roaming around the neighborhood disoriented and confused,” Gregg said. They returned twice before sunrise, Gregg said.
He said a community police officer returned to check on Smith the following day.
Having found a fully loaded magazine and multiple boxes of ammunition in the grassy area off Uno Lago Drive, Gregg said, “The large potential risk to lives and safety was averted.”
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