|Posted: April 21, 2006, 4:02 pm - IP Logged|
Seminole cops shoot 2004 Lotto winner
FOREST CITY -- Since winning one of the largest Florida Lotto jackpots 1 1/2 years ago, Robert Swofford Jr. has surrounded himself with security. He has motion detectors placed throughout his property. A security guard lives on the site.
But the precautions apparently backfired early Thursday when the system was triggered by someone entering his property.
Swofford grabbed a gun and ventured into the darkness to investigate. Instead of a trespasser, however, he was confronted by two Seminole County deputy sheriffs who ordered him to drop his gun.
For reasons that aren't clear, he did not, and the deputies opened fire.
Swofford was hit at least three times, including one shot to the abdomen. He was in intensive care at Orlando Regional Medical Center late Thursday after undergoing surgery. He is expected to survive his injuries.
The incident began about 2:30 a.m. Thursday when Deputy Ronnie Remus, patrolling on a bicycle, encountered a man trying to break into a car in the Barrington at Mirror Lake apartment complex just behind Swofford's property, sheriff's spokesman Lt. Dennis Lemma said.
Remus was there because 11 trailers and five vehicles had been burglarized at the complex in the past two months. The man tried to flee in a car, but was caught. Suspecting he might have accomplices, however, deputies brought in a police dog. Striker immediately picked up a track.
"That K-9 was on a scent," Lemma said.
Striker led his handler, Deputy Bill Morris Jr., and Remus through an opening in a wooden fence and into a field that apparently was once a plant nursery.
Swofford was in that field, more than 100 yards from his home on Forest Lake Drive, when the deputies spotted him, Lemma said.
They repeatedly identified themselves as deputies, Lemma said, and ordered Swofford to drop the gun.
They were about 20 feet from Swofford when he "moved the firearm in a threatening manner," Lemma said. Both deputies fired.
The land where Swofford was shot is one of two parcels he has bought since winning the $63.75 million Lotto jackpot Nov. 24, 2004.
He has built two large buildings to hold cars, trucks and motorcycles he now collects.
The land and his home all are listed in the name of his wife, Sharon.
Swofford has been plagued by people wanting some of his winnings, said Don Buchholz, one of two men who work for Swofford, providing security and helping to maintain the property.
"We've had to escort people off the property," he said.
Buchholz has an apartment in a building adjacent to Swofford's home, but he wasn't there when the shooting occurred.
He said both he and Swofford generally go out if the alarm sounds. The tone of the alarm tells them which area triggered it.
"I don't go out at night without carrying a piece [gun]," he said.
There's more on the next page probably too much to post here click on link to read the rest. Not a bad idea get a concealed carry permit and carry a pistol on your hip if you win a large lotto jackpot might keep some of the crazies away. Little tip tho if some cops run up on you and tell you to drop your gun more than twice might be a good idea to listen. Or buy a bullet proof vest!