A Navarre man was killed in a standoff Tuesday with law enforcement shortly after he shot and killed a part-time Okaloosa County Sheriff’s deputy point blank with a gun.
Sixty four-year-old Okaloosa County Deputy Bill Myers, who came out of retirement back in January to serve as a part time deputy, was killed by the suspect after serving an injunction against him in Shalimar.
The suspect, Joel Dixon Smith, who had an address listed at the Magnolia Beach Campground in Navarre, brutally shot and killed the deputy after the officer served a domestic violence injunction against the man at Cotton and Gates Law Firm on Plew Avenue.
According to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, Myers was walking outside of the law firm after serving the injunction when Smith came out of the office with a gun and shot the deputy multiple times in the back, including a gunshot wound to the rear of the deputy’s head.
The suspect then fled to the Comfort Inn and Suites at 148 John Sims Parkway in Niceville where he barricaded himself into a room at the motel.
The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team eventually responded to the motel and set up a perimeter around the building after evacuating people out of the motel.
Over an hour of negotiations were made before the suspect retreated from the room with a weapon at 11:13 a.m.
When the suspect came out of the room with the weapon, he was struck by the responding agency and taken to Ft. Walton Beach Medical Center where he later perished from his injuries.
No members of the Special Response Team were injured in the ambush.
“Deputy Myers has been a treasured part of this agency’s family since 1989,” said Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley. “He served this community with distinction for decades. He was loved, admired, and respected for his dedication to the law enforcement profession. He loved photography and he had an ability to make those around him smile, especially his young granddaughter who he adored and took to Disney World as often as he could. We pray for his soul and for his family and we ask that the community pray for them as well, and for all the men and women who have the courage in these troubled times to put their lives on the line for others.
“We also want to express our sincere gratitude to all of you who have reached out to our agency at this time with words and gestures of support, and to all the agencies which assisted us today at the scene of the shooting and in Niceville.”
Smith had a checkered criminal history, including an arrest in Walton County.
Deputy Meyers rejoined the agency at the beginning of this year after retiring back in 2013.
He had served nearly 25 years with the agency prior to his retirement. He was rehired part time in January to assist with civil matters.
Following the incident, citizens banded together and formed a Myers’ Disney fund on gofundme.com and raised $10,000 (the fund’s goal) after only 24 hours of it being online.