Dixie County sheriff gives details of fatal shoot-out

Chad Reed was killed after being shot by a homicide suspect.

Dixie County Sheriff Captain Chad Reed was fatally shot during a gun fight Thursday in Cross City, shown Friday, January 15, 2010.

Erica Brough/ The Gainesville Sun
Published: Friday, January 15, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 15, 2010 at 5:32 p.m.

(Update posted 5:27 p.m.) The Dixie County sheriff's captain who was fatally shot Thursday evening was hit once in the mouth, briefly remained conscious at the scene and died later in the hospital. The alleged shooter remained hospitalized in critical condition Friday while the captain's family planned his funeral.



Visitation is Saturday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Rick Gooding Funeral Home, 16984 S.E. U.S. 19, in Cross City.

Funeral services are planned for 3 p.m. Sunday at the First Baptist Church of Cross City, 16024 S.E. U.S. 19.

Honor guards from across the state were calling the Dixie County Sheriff's Office on Friday morning, making arrangements to send color guards to the funeral.

The shootings are under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Capt. Chad Reed, 33, died Thursday night shortly after a shoot-out with John Kalisz, 55, who came into Dixie County late Thursday afternoon after reportedly killing two women and wounding two others in Hernando County.

Kalisz remained at Shands Hospital at the University of Florida Friday, where he had been flown after being shot by officers at a Cross City gas station.

Dispatch records show the Sheriff's Office received a notice to be on the lookout for Kalisz at 4:47 p.m.

At 4:56 p.m. Kalisz pulled into a gas station and up to the center of three gas pump islands in the southeast corner of the intersection of U.S. 19 and Southeast 289th Street. Several deputies followed him into the station - some in marked cars - but not at high speeds, Hatcher said.

A minute later the dispatch records show deputies on the scene were calling for an ambulance for Reed.

Sheriff Dewey Hatcher said he met with those involved late Thursday and early Friday after they had returned from Shands.

"The thing that I tried to emphasize to them was not to beat themselves up over this," Hatcher said. "We could have the exact same situation today, and it may have turned out differently, but it was not something we had any control over."

According to Hatcher, Reed had gotten out of his car and was heading south toward Kalisz, who was in the driver's seat of the car. Kalisz turned north, lifted a gun, pointed in Reed's direction and fired once, Hatcher said.

Deputy "Michael Brannin told me he saw the gun coming up in Kalisz's hand, so he started to fire," Hatcher said. "We had two other deputies return fire, too, Mical Malloy and Major Scott Hardin. I think they fired 11 shots and five of them hit him (Kalisz) - one in the side of his neck and the other four in the front of his torso."

After being hit, Reed remained upright and staggered backward 15 or 20 feet before falling to the pavement, Hatcher said.


View Fatal shooting of Capt. Chad Reed in a larger map

"Another one of our deputies, John Simmons, reached Chad first, and he was able to tell him that he had been hit," Hatcher said. "John pulled him to safety around the back of his car because at that point we didn't know if there were more shooters or what."

FDLE seized the deputies' guns as well as the gun taken from Kalisz for analysis at a crime lab. Once FDLE agents have completed their report on the incident, it will be sent to the Third Judicial Circuit State Attorney's Office. It will be up to State Attorney Skip Jarvis to decide whether charges will be filed against the suspect, as well as whether officers were justified in their use of deadly force, an FDLE official said Friday.

FDLE spokesman Mike Morrison said agents were back at the scene of the shooting Friday to gather evidence.

"FDLE's role is to interview witnesses, process the scene and examine all forensic evidence. Our job is fact-finding - to determine how the incident unfolded and what happened," Morrison said. "Once we complete our investigation we will provide a report to the State Attorney's Office. His office will make the determination on justifiable use of force and any charges against the suspect."

Morrison said he did not have an estimate on how long the investigation will take.

Warrants have been issued in Hernando County for Kalisz's arrest on murder charges, said Alachua County Sheriff's Office spokesman Art Forgey. He added that Kalisz is in custody but that custody is at Shands.

Less than a mile north of the scene of the shooting, Reed's widow, Holly Reed, was at her parents' home talking about her late husband, their two young sons and the funeral plans she was making.

A visitation has been planned for Saturday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Rick Gooding Funeral Home at 16984 S.E. U.S. 19 in Cross City. Reed's funeral service will be at 3 p.m. Sunday at the First Baptist Church of Cross City at 16024 S.E. U.S. 19.

Dixie sheriff's captain dies in gunfight on U.S. 19

(original article published 6 a.m. Friday) Dixie County Sheriff's Capt. Chad Reed died Thursday night after he was shot in a gunfight with a Hernando County homicide suspect who was tracked into Dixie County.

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

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

Reed and other deputies tried to apprehend Kalisz, who was wanted on accusations that he shot four people, two of them fatally, in Hernando County, authorities said.

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

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

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

While fleeing Hernando County, Kalisz was tracked via his cell phone, Black said. A sheriff's helicopter then began following him, Black said. Kalisz told his brother he would shoot any deputy who tried to stop him, Black said.

Hernando authorities notified law enforcement agencies along Kalisz's path, she added.

Hatcher said authorities were notified that Kalisz 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 shot hit Reed, though witnesses at the scene told The Sun the wound was to Reed's face. Witnesses said it was not clear exactly where Kalisz had been hit.

Black said Hernando sheriff's personnel were heading to North Central Florida on 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 had spent his entire career working for the county, serving as a volunteer firefighter, paramedic, emergency services director and at the Sheriff's Office.

Reed's death is the first death in the line of duty in Dixie County in decades.

Jailer Charley Driggers was shot and killed in the 1960s by an inmate he was transferring from a car into the county jail.

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