A man who was firing an assault rifle at homes near Sebring and then fired shots at deputies when they arrived on scene was shot and killed by one of the deputies before dawn Sunday.
Floyd Gene Hodge, 31, of 215 Plantation Drive off U.S. 98 in Sebring, exchanged gunshots several times with deputies before he was shot once and killed by Sgt. John Singha, a supervisor with the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office. No one else was injured.
According to the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called to the area of 215 Plantation Road at around 4:45 a.m. after residents said bullets were hitting their homes.
As deputies arrived on scene they were immediately under fire from a high-powered assault rifle and took cover behind their patrol cars and behind houses, struggling in the heavy fog to see the shooter, Nell Hays, HCSO Public Information Officer said. Hays described Hodge’s weapon as an AK-47.
Numerous shots hit the patrol cars as deputies arrived. Heavy fog helped blanket the shooter from deputies, Hays said.
Finally the suspect stepped into an area between house lights and the lights of a deputy’s cruiser. That was when Sgt. Singha ordered Hodge to drop his weapon, but he did not comply. The closest any deputy was able to get to him was 42 yards, according to Sheriff Susan Benton. That’s how far Sgt. Singha was from Hodge when the man was dropped by one shot from a HCSO-issued AR-15 Bushmaster rifle. Hodge fell in front of the mailbox beside his driveway.
Benton said Singha, Deputy Justin Norris and Deputy Dennis Williams have all been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the investigation. Detectives are still investigating the number of weapons and amount of ammunition Hodge had.