Dixie sheriff's captain dies in gunfight

Published: Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 7:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 7:57 p.m.

Dixie County sheriff's Capt. Chad Reed died Thursday night after he was shot in a Cross City gunfight with a Hernando County murder suspect who was tracked into Dixie County.

Reed was shot late Thursday afternoon and died in Shands Hospital at the University of Florida Thursday evening. Sheriff Dewey Hatcher confirmed the death.

The suspect, identified as John Kalisz, 55, was also shot and airlifted to Shands. His condition was not available.

Reed and other deputies tried to apprehend Kalisz, who was wanted for allegedly shooting four people, two of them fatally, in Hernando County, authorities said.

Kalisz was involved in the shooting at around 3 p.m. Thursday of four people, two of whom are his relatives, near Brooksville, authorities said.

The Hernando County Sheriff's Sgt. Donna Black that Kalisz went to a home near Brooksville and shot fatally two elderly women. He also shot a younger woman and a girl believed to be pregnant.

Black said a motive is not known but said it was domestic in nature. He is the uncle of one of the victims.

Kalisz was tracked via his cell phone. A sheriff's helicopter then began following him, Black said. Kalisz reportedly told his brother that he would shoot any deputy who tried to stop him. Hernando authorities notified law enforcement agencies along Kalisz's path, she added.

Hatcher said authorities were notified that he was heading toward Dixie County on U.S. 19. Deputies spotted the car and followed it to a gas station in Cross City. The shooting of Capt. Reed and Kalisz happened there, Hatcher said.

"Some of my guys intercepted the vehicle and were following it. We were trying to stage enough people to do a traffic stop," Hatcher said. "When the guy gets to Cross City, he pulls into a gas station. My officers approached the vehicle. They exchange fire. My captain was shot and the suspect was also shot."

Hatcher said he didn't know where the the shot hit Reed, though witnesses at the scene told The Sun the wound was to Reed's face. Witnesses said said it was not clear exactly where Kalisz had been hit.

Hatcher did not know the extent of the injuries to the suspect.

Black said if Kalisz survives he will be charged with two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder. She added that Hernando sheriff's personnel were heading to Gainesville Thursday night.

According to county emergency workers and dispatch records, both men were taken by ambulances to emergency landing zones before being airlifted to the trauma unit at Shands. Paramedics at the scene determined both men were in critical condition with potentially life threatening injuries.

County emergency service director Tim Alexander said Reed was taken to Trenton where a medical helicopter from Taylor County picked him up.

Kalisz was taken to the landing zone in Old Town where he was picked up by a medical helicopter from Lake City and then flown to Shands.

Reed is survived by his wife, Holly, two young sons, and a large extended family in Dixie County. He has spent his entire career working for the county, serving as a volunteer firefighter, paramedic, emergency services director and at the sheriff's office.

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