NEW SMYRNA BEACH, FLORIDA – The Volusia County Sheriff’s Department has released bodycam footage of an officer involved shooting. An armed suspect who fled from police Sunday in Port Orange shot and wounded a New Smyrna Beach police officer before police and a Volusia sheriff’s deputy returned fire, killing him. The NSB police officer was taken to a hospital and is recovering from his injury.
The incident started around 4 p.m. at Nova and Spruce Creek roads, where a Port Orange police officer attempted a traffic stop on a driver of a green Lincoln sedan who took off fleeing recklessly at high speed. Officers followed the car at a distance as it headed toward New Smyrna Beach.
When the car reached the area of Turnbull Street and Industrial Park Avenue, a deputy deployed stop sticks and the car crashed outside a storage facility, where the suspect bailed out and ultimately started firing at police. Around 4:17 p.m., the officer was shot. Moments later, the suspect was shot by return fire.
The shooting is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the officers and deputy-involved have been temporarily placed on administrative leave, as is standard.
The deceased suspect was identified as Matthew Thomas, 25, of Holly Hill (DOB 09/01/1995). Deputy Bergeron, 24, was hired by the Sheriff’s Office in April 2019 and has prior law enforcement experience at Daytona Beach PD. The injured officer from New Smyrna Beach Police Department is Ralph Hunnefeld. Hunnefeld and his fellow NSBPD officers David McCallister and Margaret Deal also returned fire at Thomas.
Sheriff Mike Chitwood and New Smyrna Beach Police Department Chief Mike Coffin were each on the scene following the shooting and commended the bravery of the officers and deputies involved. The injured officer was in good spirits Saturday night and his family was at his side at the hospital.