LAKELAND, Fla. — A fugitive who spent most of his life in and out of jail has died after exchanging gunfire with a Florida drug task force that set out to arrest him.
Sheriff Grady Judd says 32-year-old Francis Perry died early Thursday after being hit multiple times when all four detectives on the multi-agency task force returned fire.
The sheriff said detectives knew Perry was a violent felon with a history of fleeing law enforcement and resisting arrest when they sought to arrest him on a fugitive warrant in Lakeland Wednesday evening.
Perry, a self-described white supremacist whose many tattoos included the word “chaos” on his neck, pulled into a driveway, and the officers parked behind him. Then they approached his car on both sides and ordered him to roll down his dark-tinted windows, because they couldn’t see him very well, the sheriff said.
For almost two minutes, Judd said, Perry alternated between showing his hands and putting them back down. The sheriff said a detective finally smashed a window, and they saw him reach for a Glock 9 mm handgun and fire at two detectives standing outside the passenger door.
After Perry quit firing, detectives took him out of the car and performed CPR until medics arrived and took him to the hospital. He died Thursday morning.
“All he had to do was comply. Instead, he shot at us,” Judd said.
Judd said the four detectives fired at least 28 times, between them. An autopsy will determine how many bullets hit Francis.
Inside the vehicle, Judd said investigators found a stolen gun and two bags containing 180 grams of methamphetamine with a street value of about $5,400.
According to the sheriff’s office, Perry was charged with shoplifting at age 10, followed by a weapons charge a year later, and was arrested 20 times in 20 years. He was charged with 33 felonies and 19 misdemeanors, and spent three stints in prison.