Okaloosa County Deputy Dies After Being Shot, Suspect Dead

September 22, 2015

An Okaloosa County deputy has died after being shot Tuesday morning out side an attorney’s office in Shalimar.

Deputy Bill Myers was 64.  The 25-year veteran rejoined the agency to serve part-time in 2013. He is survived by his wife,  children and granddaughter. He was, according to Sheriff Larry Ashley, saving money to take his granddaughter and family on a trip to Disney World.

Investigators say Myers had just finished serving a domestic violence injunction to 33-year old Joel Dixon Smith of Navarre at Cotton and Gates Law Firm on Plew Avenue around 8:20 a.m. Deputy Myers was walking outside when he was shot multiple times in the back, including a gunshot wound to the rear of his head.

Investigators say the suspect in the shooting, 33-year old Joel Dixon Smith of 9807 Navarre Parkway in Santa Rosa County, then drove to the Comfort Inn and Suites, 148 John Sims Parkway, in Niceville, where he barricaded himself inside a room.

The OCSO Special Response Team responded and evacuated the building, setting up a perimeter.

After an hour and a half of negotiations, the suspect came out of his room with a weapon at 11:13 a.m. Deputies responded and the suspect was struck and taken to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center where he later died. No members of the SRT Unit were injured.

“Deputy Myers has been a treasured part of this agency’s family since 1989,” said Sheriff Larry Ashley. “He served this community with distinction for decades. He was loved, admired, and respected for his dedication to the law enforcement profession. He loved photography and he had an ability to make those around him smile, especially his young granddaughter who he adored and took to Disney World as often as he could. We pray for his soul and for his family and we ask that the community pray for them as well, and for all the men and women who have the courage in these troubled times to put their lives on the line for others.”

“We also want to express our sincere gratitude to all of you who have reached out to our agency at this time with words and gestures of support, and to all the agencies which assisted us today at the scene of the shooting and in Niceville.

Ashley described Smith as a “sick little coward”.

In a written statement late Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Rick Scott said, “Today, our hearts are broken to learn of the death of Deputy Bill Myers. Florida’s law enforcement officers risk their lives daily to protect others, and any act of violence against these brave heroes is shameful and cowardly. My wife, Ann, and I send our sincerest condolences to Deputy Myers’ family and brothers and sisters in Florida’s law enforcement community. I am grateful for the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Department and all law enforcement and first responders whose immediate response helped protect innocent lives during this horrific incident.”

Pictured: The scene outside a Shalimar law firm following the shooting of an Okaloosa County deputy Tuesday morning. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge


22 Responses to “Okaloosa County Deputy Dies After Being Shot, Suspect Dead”

  1. Michael D. Williams on September 30th, 2015 9:53 am

    Anytime I hear see and hear this it tears me up inside. Being a former law enforcement officer myself (U.S. Army) and State of Alaska V.P.S.O.(Village Public Safety Officer) conditions are not going to change until when see a respect for authority. Cold cowards have no care toward anyone except their own kind and don’t want take the right action(s) to correct wrongs in their life. Doing law enforcement like serving civil papers might require an additional officer for “OFFICER SAFETY”. Evidently we are looking at a war on cops and we should treat it as such. From one amateur radio operator to another 73 and maybe one day I can work you on a special frequency.


  2. Otis Mukinfus on September 27th, 2015 2:32 pm

    It seams to me that this sort of behavior on the part of mean and vicious people is on the rise, but it’s not because of a need for gun control, it’s a need for getting back to the fundamental belief in the old saying: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

  3. Facetious Bob on September 24th, 2015 10:00 pm

    A mentally and emotional person, owning guns, a subject of previous family disturbances, that were recognized by family members. He made deadly threats, heard by family members.

    Then, Deputy Bill Myers was sent into an ambush.

    Not a issue of gun control…probably not ” politically correct”, just “people control.”
    The family could have saved two lives if they had just cowboyed up, and did what they should have done from the start.

  4. northofI10 on September 23rd, 2015 6:12 am

    Horrible news that is happening too frequently around this country. Condolences to the Myers family and to the Okaloosa SO.

  5. EMD on September 23rd, 2015 12:23 am

    This is so wrong and heartbreaking that it defies words. So very sorry. To the family: I hope this helps you as it has me, many times……….Isaiah 57:1

  6. To just thinking on September 22nd, 2015 11:13 pm

    The EMS dept in Okaloosa County has setup a Go Fund Me in his family’s name. His son is the head of the EMS department and all proceeds will go to the family for Disney.

  7. Terri Sanders on September 22nd, 2015 11:12 pm

    At least the tax payers are spared the expense of defending this scum bag…..

  8. Carl & Sylvia Godwin on September 22nd, 2015 10:23 pm

    prayers for all the Myers family. What a sad world we live in when people can gun you down with no remorse what so ever. May God be near to all the Myers family and friends. God give them peace and comfort in the days ahead. Amen!

  9. LAW INFORCEMENT FAMILY on September 22nd, 2015 9:58 pm

    My prayers go out to this brave officer and his family. May God Bless You.

  10. Just thinking on September 22nd, 2015 9:38 pm

    I do not know this family nor the deputy but I have this lump in my throat that just won’t go down. Here is a man that went back to work to earn his wages to take family and grand daughter to Disney world. I for one feel like someone should establish a account to help make that trip come to a reality without one cent burden to that family. I would be more than willing to help. God bless the family.

  11. Susan on September 22nd, 2015 8:32 pm

    I’m so sorry this good man lost his life while doing his job to protect his community. We all need to be more supportive of those who protect and serve our communities–the police force, the firefighters, the security guards, the military, the clergy, the teachers, the mental health professionals, the agencies who try to help…the list goes on and on. We live in a society that is becoming more frightening by the day. Lots of people out there that aren’t getting the help they need and when they can’t take it anymore they blow up and take people down with them.

  12. north end escambia on September 22nd, 2015 8:08 pm

    I do not know this officer but what I do know is he was a officer who put his life on the line to protect everyone. Thank you to all who do this! My heart just breaks for this family. May God be with you in the days to come. We honor and respect This officer and his family for all their sacrifices.

  13. molinoman on September 22nd, 2015 7:24 pm

    My heart aches for the family. So sad, gunned down by a coward.

    My prayers are with all involved.

  14. Oversight on September 22nd, 2015 7:11 pm

    Today we lost another “HERO” in Bill Myers. So many times day-after-day LEO’s go into our communities and take care of business in keeping us safe. God bless him and all of the law enforcement officers who are on patrol, and pray for his family during this time of our loss.

  15. Wilson on September 22nd, 2015 7:00 pm

    Thankful for your many years of service. Prayers for your family especially your granddaughter!

  16. a on September 22nd, 2015 6:42 pm

    Salaam to the family.

  17. JJ on September 22nd, 2015 6:24 pm

    Our world is upside down :(

    Jeff S, 10.4 on your comment.

    Retired, returned to work part time to take his grandson to Disney. Man, people piss me off! The suspect’s selfish and idiotic demeanor has placed a sad, sad cloud over Deputy Myers’ family, forever :(

    Go with God, Bill! The Brothers in Blue will see to your family.

  18. well on September 22nd, 2015 5:40 pm

    Senseless acts are happening all to frequently.

    Prayers for the Myers family.

    Thank you to all officers who put their lives on the line everyday.

  19. Joyce Crutchfield on September 22nd, 2015 5:28 pm

    Sincere and serious prayers for this precious man and his family. My heart breaks for you.

  20. Trina Tingle on September 22nd, 2015 4:37 pm

    Thank you Deputy Bill Myers for your service and sacrifice. May God hold his arms wide open and welcome you home. Thank you to your family for allowing you to make such a great sacrifice. May God comfort your family, friends and fellow officers.

  21. Jeff S on September 22nd, 2015 4:04 pm

    Prayers to the family of the slain officer……..
    And thank you to Okaloosa SRT for taking care of business the way it should be taken care of,….

  22. Blue Line on September 22nd, 2015 4:02 pm

    Rest In Peace, Brother. See you in Valhalla!