Retired deputy fires shot at alleged thief, police say


Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 12:06 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 4:20 p.m.

A retired deputy fired a shot at a man who police say drove at him Monday afternoon while trying to flee with a stolen lawn mower.

The shot hit the tailgate of the man’s pickup truck, and no one was injured, according to the report from the Gainesville Police Department.

David Ryan Cox, a retired Alachua County sheriff’s deputy, was returning to his home in the 3600 block of Northwest 29th Street at 3 p.m. when he saw William Melcolm putting Cox’s lawn mower into his truck, the report said.

Cox confronted Melcolm as he got into his truck and Melcolm accelerated and drove toward Cox, who jumped out of the way, the report said.

Cox lost his footing while the truck was moving past him, said GPD spokesman Officer Ben Tobias, and the shot has been determined to have been an accidental discharge. Cox is not facing any type of charges in the incident, he said.

Officers spotted the truck on Northwest 39th Avenue, and Melcolm turned onto Northwest Sixth Street and then onto Northwest 29th Avenue, which is a dead end.

Melcolm tried to drive through a yard, and his vehicle became wedged between a house and a tree, Tobias said. Officers then captured him.

Tobias said GPD detectives are trying to determine if the shot fired was accidental or intentional, but that the preliminary investigation showed Melcolm drove his truck directly at Cox, so Cox is not facing any charges for firing the shot.

Melcolm, 46, of 6985 Gatorbone Road, Keystone Heights, was arrested on charges of aggravated assault, burglary of a dwelling and grand theft. He was being held at the Alachua County jail Tuesday in lieu of $40,000 bond.

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