Man killed, vest saves deputy in shooting incident


Published: Sunday, June 16, 2013 at 8:13 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, June 16, 2013 at 3:39 p.m.

When Deputy William Frank Williams answered a call about a disturbance Saturday night, the only thing between him and a man with a history of violence toward law enforcement officers was a vest of soft body armor.

Moments later, when the man fired a shot directly at Williams’ chest, the body armor absorbed the hit and left the deputy bruised but alive.

The man who investigators say fired the shot, Recardio Shormon Clark, died at the scene from wounds he received when Williams returned fire.

Williams was taken to UF Health Shands Hospital for treatment. Deputy Jake Skelly, who was with Williams on the call, was uninjured.

“The deputy took one shot to the chest. The deputy returned fire,” said Lt. Todd Kelly, spokesman for the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

Kelly said all deputies are issued soft body armor and are required to wear it while on patrol. He said Williams will likely be black and blue from the impact.

“It’s like taking a sledgehammer to the chest or gut,” he said.

At around 11 p.m., Williams and Skelly responded to a 911 call that someone had been “jumped” at the Tower Oaks Glen apartments, 6900 SW 21st Lane, according to the sheriff’s report.

The deputies were standing outside apartment L6 talking to Clark, a 33-year-old convicted felon with at least two arrests for battery on law enforcement officers.

While they were talking, Kelly said, Clark pulled out a pistol and shot Williams once in the chest.

Kelly said Williams fired multiple rounds and later told investigators that he was confident that he had hit Clark.

Clark then retreated into the apartment and refused to respond to orders to surrender, Kelly said.

ASO’s SWAT team was called to the scene and deputies used a robot to enter and search the apartment. Clark was found dead on a couch with a handgun by his feet.

An autopsy will determine the cause of death and the number of times Clark was hit, Kelly said.

Williams and Skelly have been employed with the Sheriff’s Office since 2010. Both deputies have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure during such investigations.

Attempts to reach Williams and Skelly were unsuccessful on Sunday. Sheriff Sadie Darnell also could not be reached for comment.

Kelly said deputies do not have details regarding the incident to which Williams and Skelly had responded. Deputies will continue to investigate the incident, he said.

Clark, who lived at 1911 NW Sixth St., was released from prison on July 15, 2012, after a 2005 conviction for assaulting a law enforcement officer, fleeing and eluding law enforcement, resisting an officer with violence and providing false information, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

Clark was also incarcerated in 2002 for robbery, fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer and battery to a law enforcement officer.

At the apartment complex on Sunday afternoon, neighbors stopped to talk about Clark.

“In spite of the lifestyle he lived, he was a good man,” a resident at the Tower Oaks Glen apartments said Sunday.

The woman, who declined to give her name, added that her 3-year-old daughter was very fond of Clark. She said that Clark would sometimes hang around the apartments even though he did not live there.

“He was a good dude, he would give you his last,” another resident said.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top