Judge denies bail to fugitive Michael Wallach wounded in weekend shootout

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Surrounded by additional security, a wanted fugitive who has been hospitalized since Saturday after a shootout with deputies was denied bond in court this morning.

Michael James Wallach, 22, stood quietly before Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Krista Marx with four Palm Beach County Sheriff's corrections deputies of the Emergency Response Team, in addition to the three deputies who are usually present in court.

Wallach, of suburban West Palm Beach, is facing charges of aggravated assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer, possession of a weapon by a felon and nine counts of attempted first-degree murder with a firearm on a law enforcement officer.

Assistant State Attorney Mary Ann Duggan requested that Wallach be held without bond for the attempted first-degree murder charges, while adding that his charges are punishable by life.

Meanwhile, his Assistant Public Defender Steve Benedict stated that Wallach was to speak with no law enforcement officers without his attorney present. But he did not comment on the charges his client faces.

Wallach had no visible reaction when Marx ordered he be held without bond.

The Saturday incident that placed Wallach before Marx this morning was dubbed as a "run-and-gun battle" with sheriff's deputies in a residential neighborhood by Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw.

And arrest report indicates Wallach fired at deputies, including those in a helicopter above him, pulling the trigger at least six times in the course of his attempt to shake their pursuit and firing multiple rounds when he was finally cornered.

Wallach's weekend run-in with authorities began Friday when he carjacked a vehicle near Lake Clarke Shores, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said Saturday.

Wallach, who was wanted for aggravated battery and attempted armed robbery, allegedly aimed a gun at Lake Clarke Shores officers who chased him in response to the carjacking.

Wallach slipped away, first by jumping in a canal, then carjacking a second vehicle, a Cadillac.

At 7:15 p.m. Saturday, a sheriff's deputy spotted the Cadillac driving east near Forest Hill Boulevard and Kirk Road.

When deputies tried to stop the car with tire-deflating stop sticks on 10th Avenue North, Wallach swerved into oncoming traffic to avoid them, the arrest report said.

As deputies in several cars pursued, Wallach reportedly drove on a sidewalk and crashed. When he took off on foot, he aimed at one deputy and then fired at others.

As he ran, Wallach also is reported to have fired once at the sheriff's Eagle helicopter, and three times at deputies in the chase before being cornered and exchanging fire with deputies on Shawnee Avenue.

Wallach was taken to Delray Medical Center to be treated for gunshot wounds to his left shoulder and thigh. He left the hospital and was booked into the county jail Monday, where he is being kept in the infirmary, sheriff's spokeswoman Teri Barbera said.

Wallach's felon status dates to a 2008 burglary conviction, the arrest report said.

Staff writer Sonja Isger contributed to this story.


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