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Florida police kill suspect in deputy's slaying

Story Highlights

Suspect killed only 75 yards from where he was last seen, police said
Florida sheriff: "We shot numerous times"
• Suspect had handgun believed taken from slain deputy
• Police asked suspect to show his hands, saw gun, shot him
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LAKELAND, Florida (CNN) -- Police said Friday they shot and killed a suspected cop killer who was armed and who failed to raise both hands when Florida SWAT officers stumbled upon him hiding in thick brush.

"Ladies and gentlemen, God will be the judge and jury this time," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd during a news conference.

The suspect, on the run since Thursday afternoon, had dug under a fallen oak tree and covered himself with brush, Judd said, only about 75 yards from where police said he killed a sheriff's deputy. (Watch the sheriff describe how the suspect was killed -- 2:50)

"I was standing on top of him before I ever saw him," Judd said a SWAT team member told him.

The SWAT team members ordered the suspect to show his hands and he made only one hand visible, the sheriff said. When SWAT officers removed a cloth over the man's other hand they saw a weapon and began shooting.

"SWAT team members shot and killed the man who killed our deputy," Judd said, adding that the man was shot "numerous times."

"The killer chose his end. He chose his end because he didn't show both hands," the sheriff said.

Judd said police found a 45-caliber handgun believed to have been taken from the dead sheriff's deputy.

Judd said police still have not been able to establish the identity of the man who was shot, but expressed confidence that he was their suspect in Thursday's traffic stop that resulted in the death of Deputy Vernon Matthew "Matt" Williams and his police dog "Diogi."

Judd said, "It's still a sad day for law enforcement and certainly for the sheriff's office."

"We have no idea whether or not [the suspect] shot [at police] but we saw him and we saw the gun," Judd said. "We don't have the details and we shot numerous times."

Hundreds of police were swarming "through every square inch" of thickly overgrown Florida woods Friday before the announcement. (Watch how identifying the suspect has become challenging -- 2:55)

Police insisted they would not rest until they captured the man, whom they suspect of killing a sheriff's deputy and wounding another during a routine traffic stop. They thought he was involved in a narcotics ring.

Williams was a 12-year veteran of the department.

Deputy Doug Speirs was shot in the leg and is expected to make a full recovery. He was treated and released at a hospital.

Judd said the suspect's body would be examined during an autopsy.

'Significant' leads; suspect 'armed and dangerous'

Before the suspect was shot Friday, Judd said, "We've run dozens of leads through the night. He's armed, we know he's very dangerous." He said police have "significant investigative leads."

Judd said police had been scouring between 75 and 150 acres of woods.

"It is so thick in that particular area you could literally walk by him close enough to touch him and not be able to see him," the sheriff said.

A $40,000 reward had been offered for information on the suspect.

"We've also developed through witnesses that his name is possibly Alex or Andrew Cloxton or Angleo Freeland," Judd said. "We know that he has friends and associates in Polk County." They believe he is from the Miami area.

Stopped for speeding

The man is suspected of shooting the two sheriff's deputies, one fatally, and killing a police dog after being pulled over for speeding on Thursday, the sheriff said. (Watch sheriff vow: "We will find him" -- 3:40 Video)

Speirs pulled the suspect over about 11:45 a.m. for speeding, Judd said. The suspect told Speirs he had a Florida identification card but no driver's license. He was described as a black male, 6-feet-tall, wearing a white or light khaki T-shirt and dark pants and having a "Jamaican" accent.

During the traffic stop, Speirs went back to his car and returned several times to talk to the man, who was driving a rental car. At one point, the man asked, "Are you going to put me in jail?"

According to Judd, Speirs had already called for backup because he was suspicious and did not want to aggravate the situation. The deputy told the suspect that he doubted he would go to jail, saying, "It's a hot day. I'm not in the mood to drive all the way to the county jail."

But the man then ran into nearby woods, Judd said. Speirs went in about 200 to 300 feet, then returned to meet arriving officers and set up a perimeter.

Williams, the police dog and Speirs went into woods and faced "a sudden burst of gunfire," Judd said.

Williams, Speirs and the dog were shot in the ensuing gunfight. Speirs called for an ambulance, paramedics and additional police units.

Williams was shot multiple times, Judd said. "I don't believe he felt a thing."

A short time later, a Lakeland police detective was also fired on when he was notifying residents that the suspect might be in the area. When he returned fire, the suspect ran back into the woods, Judd said.

Police released a photo of the suspect but said it was taken off a Florida identification card thought to be false and could not verify the man's name or address.

It was believed that Diogi may have attacked the suspect before being shot, and deputies also returned fire at the suspect. He may be shot or bitten, Judd said.

Williams is survived by his wife and three children, a twin son and daughter, 16, and a 19-year-old son, Judd said. He was shot to death on his wife's birthday.

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Police say the suspect may be named Alex or Andrew Cloxton or Angleo Freeland.



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