Skip to comments.Florida Lotto Jackpot Winner Shot By Two Deputies
Posted on 04/20/2006 6:42:31 PM PDT by grjr21
FOREST CITY, Fla. -- A $60 million lottery winner was shot by two Seminole County deputies. Robert Swofford, Jr. is in the hospital with four gunshot wounds.
Swofford, 54, may have thought the deputies on his private property were intruders, but the officers who were looking for a burglar. Instead, they ran into the armed man.
The Seminole County Sheriff's Office released video taken by their helicopter just moments after deputies shot Swofford at his home off 436 near Forest City. They said he had an semi-automatic weapon and refused to drop it.
Swofford's close friend told Channel 9 on Thursday that people are always lurking around his expensive cars on his property. A sheriff's search dog led two deputies onto Swofford's property from the back, about 200 feet behind the house. Then, the three found themselves gun to gun.
The two deputies, dog-handler Billy Morris, a 10-year veteran, and rookie officer Ronnie Remus, said they identified themselves as sheriff's deputies and told the man they thought was their car burglary suspect to drop the gun. Instead, they said, he moved the 9-millimeter handgun toward them and they opened fire.Later, they found out they had shot the $60 million lotto winner.
"My gut feeling is that an alarm went off in the house and he went off to investigate," said Swofford’s close friend Don Buchholz.Swofford's friends said he's installed cameras, sensors and alarm systems all over his property. Since he won the lotto jackpot, he's had a lot of trespassers."People coming on the property, scoping the cars out. We've had to chase them, yeah. We've had a lot of excitement around here," Buchholz said.
But the sheriff's office said they have no written reports of any trespassers on the property and would never recommend that someone take matters into their own hands, unless there was no other alternative, because of the very possibility that something like this could happen.The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is trying to find out why Swofford didn't drop his gun.
His friends don't understand why it happened either."I'm upset. I'm not pointing the finger at anybody. Right now, to me, it was a big accident," Buchholz said.This isn't the first time that Swofford has made headlines since winning the lotto jackpot.
First, he didn't collect the money until his divorce was final. But, eventually, as part of the divorce settlement, he gave his wife $5 million and he has now reunited with her. Then, he was sued twice by his wife's sister, with whom he also has a child.
Two deputies are on administrative leave after Thursday morning's shooting. Deputy Billy Morse has been with the sheriff's office for ten years. Deputy Ronnie Remus has been with Seminole County for one year.Sheriff's records show Deputy Billy Morris has had a few problems during his ten years on the force. Among them, he failed to identify himself as a deputy while off-duty breaking up a bar fight and he shot and killed a suspect's dog a few years ago while trying to make an arrest
I carry and keep guns around to protect myself and my family, but with that kind of cash, I would hire somebody to do it for me.
This ought to be good, let's see if our new "I was in fear of my life" law holds up here.
As soon as possible after winning the lottery, move to Galt's Gulch.
Facing cops telling me to drop my gun, I'm gonna do it. We can sort it out later without any holes in anybody.
I hope he survives.
All we need now to make the story complete is the discovery that the wife's sister with whom the lottery winner had the child was the wife of one of the deputies.
Shot four times, he's a tough old bird....
If I recall correctly this guy is an ex special forces member. So, he should know how to handle firearms.
There's a Springer episode waiting to happen.....
They were intruders.
All in the family...
Typical lottery winner.
Sounds like a robbery gone bad.
How'd you do that?
What a crock.
Just goes to show. God works in mysterious ways.
This guy does not appear to be the most deserving soul in the universe.
Best to see what the officers want first, then wait until they're leaving to pull your gun on them. Better luck next time. BTW, with $50 million on the table, there are plenty of sleezy lawyers waiting to take it from him.
It's a new Firefox pre-emption plugin! allows me to weasel in before the fact!
The guy seems very suspious. He probably thought they were imposters or bad cops. If I had that kind of money no one would know it.
Great minds, and all that :)
Great minds, and all that :)
I'm not convinced HE knew he had that kind of money.
Sounds like there may be another payday in Mr. Swofford's future.
What do you mean?
It's a FReeper thing... we all understand!
"First, he didn't collect the money until his divorce was final. But, eventually, as part of the divorce settlement, he gave his wife $5 million and he has now reunited with her. Then, he was sued twice by his wife's sister, with whom he also has a child."
And now he's been shot 4 times. Yikes, what a life (and I have a feeling there's more we don't know about)
This is exactly why I`ve never won the lotto
Sheriff's records show Deputy Billy Morris has had a few problems during his ten years on the force. Among them, he failed to identify himself as a deputy while off-duty breaking up a bar fight and he shot and killed a suspect's dog a few years ago while trying to make an arrest
I know this is somewhat off-topic -- but the Fla. Legislature is finally on its way to abolishing "joint & several liability." In other words, if, say, Disney World is found to be 1% liable (and they are the only ones with the deep pockets) they aren't on the hook for the entire, huge, whopping, ridiculous judgment.
It's still a "he said, they said" issue right now if this is all we know.
If the cops start shooting everybody they come across when the cops are on someone else's property it is going to mean a lot of work for landscapers.
He could have hired "advisers" to get out of his previous entanglements... and went on to a long and happy life.
So if I trip on a crack in someones sidewalk, I can't sue the concrete manufacturer?
Thanks for the info. But that past history doesn't exactly make me see the deputy as a stone-cold killer.
I'm all for 2nd Amendment rights, but that right does carry some responsibilities.
Or I never play... seems a little risky (win or lose).
I really don't see how this has anything to do with the story, are we jealous, are are we into it's the victims fault. However, since I've never rally cared about the personal lives of lotto winner's, I found it funny.
Maybe "plain clothes"? If someone is on my property and tells me to drop my weapon, I'd tell them to prove they are LEOs then .......Anyone can say they are cops (see Rep Mckinney's "bodyguard")then blow you away when you disarm.
That sounds Ruby Ridge'ess.
My first question is were the cops wearing their Official Police Uniforms or their fatigues or Ninja suits?
Police have good uniforms that are easily recognised as being Police uniforms. but many of them prefer coveralls and combat boots., Much like burglar might wear.
Well he probably only has about 15 million anyway. The state took half of it and he probably took a cash out reduced amount. and then there is the 5 million for the ex-exwife and Then there is the sister and those expensive cars he has to watch:') That's enough to get anybody edgy:')
They do get antsy when someone else they don't know has a gun.
It does appear that it was a police copter was there following a burglar and the cops run into his property looking for the perp.
However, the video only shows the "end" of the shooting.
With his alarms he may have had a camera up. Hopefully his friend will hide it for him.
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