St. Lucie Detective Paul Pearson among two shot in US Marshal operation in Sebring

Detective treated for shoulder wound

SEBRING, Fla. - A St. Lucie County detective is recovering at home after he was shot in the shoulder during a task force operation with the US Marshals in central Florida.

Around 6 o'clock Wednesday morning, a US Marshal task force came to a house on Cleveland Road in Sebring attempting to serve arrest warrants.  However, they were met by armed suspects.

"Each and every day our men and women in law enforcement face grave danger and this is just one example of what they face every day," said St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara.

Sheriff Mascara says an 11 year veteran of his office, 33-year-old Detective Paul Pearson, was one of two men assigned to the task force who were shot.

"It was a very unique wound, it was more superficial across his back," said sheriff Mascara.

Detective Pearson has already been treated and released.  A full-time US Marshal, whose name was not released, was shot in the hand.

"The injury to his hand was primarily to the finger area.  We primarily focus on violent felons and as a result of that, focusing on violent felons, we run into these shooting situations," said US Marshals' Chief Frank Chiumento.

Law enforcement officers were targeting the Sebring house as the center of a suspected large cocaine operation throughout Central Florida.

"It was a big operation. They were dealing in multi kilograms of cocaine," said Highlands County Sheriff Susan Benton.

The news came as a surprise to Richard Gordon.

He says the people who own the home had no problems with the renters.

"For over 3 years and had no issues with late rent or anything being torn up," said Gordon.

The renters though, now have a world of problems facing them.

As of early Wednesday evening, five of the six suspected targets have been arrested.  All were from the Avon Park area.

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