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Dashboard camera video shows moment suspect pointed gun at deputy before shooting himself

Gunman dies after carjacking, shooting in parking lot of Walmart in Vero Beach
Posted at 4:18 PM, Jun 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 21:23:17-04

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Newly released dashboard camera video shows a shoplifting suspect pointing a gun at an Indian River County Sheriff's Office deputy just before he took his own life.

The video shows the final moments of Tuesday's encounter between the deputy and Ronnie Spradlin, who shot himself in the head, an autopsy revealed.

WPTV stopped the video before the shots were fired.

Dashboard camera shows fatal encounter with gunman, deputy

The incident happened just before 6 p.m. Tuesday outside the Walmart on the corner of State Road 60 and 58th Avenue.

Sheriff Deryl Loar said deputies were called to a shoplifting complaint.

When deputies arrived, the 43-year-old suspect pulled out a gun and shot at them before trying to carjack a family from out of town.

A mother and father, whose two children were in the back seat, were wounded while trying to get away and taken to a hospital. They are expected to recover.

Spradlin then carjacked another person and drove off, but he didn't get far.

Once Spradlin came to a dead end, a deputy was close behind in his cruiser.

That's when Spradlin pointed a gun at the deputy, who fired several shots through his windshield.

Bullet holes in deputy's vehicle after Vero Beach Walmart shootout
An Indian River County sheriff's deputy had to fire through the window of his vehicle during a shootout with a suspect.

Autopsy results later revealed that the suspect shot himself in the right temple. He died at the scene.

"The video will clearly show you that the coward takes his own life," Loar said.

Investigators determined the suspect was an 88-time felon who was wanted for burglary in Virginia.

The three deputies weren't injured but are on paid leave, which is standard procedure.

Loar praised his deputies for likely sparing more people from being hurt or worse.

"We could be planning funerals today," he said.