Crime I WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Taylor County Deputy Robert Lundy Cleared By Grand Jury

By: WCTV Eyewitness News; Lanetra Bennett; Julie Montanaro; James Buechele Email
By: WCTV Eyewitness News; Lanetra Bennett; Julie Montanaro; James Buechele Email
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News Release: Florida Department of Law Enforcement
May 20, 2014

PERRY, Fla. – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Tallahassee Regional Operations Center completed its investigation into the use of force involving Taylor County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Lundy and suspect Earl Edward Clague Jr. The investigation shows Deputy Lundy’s actions saved lives on Feb. 5 when Mr. Clague Jr. crashed a vehicle into the Timberland Ford dealership, exited the vehicle and began shooting.

“Deputy Lundy is a hero,” said Taylor County Sheriff L.E. “Bummy” Williams. “He used his training and did everything right in this situation. I am proud of his courageousness and commitment to the citizens of Taylor County.”
As is standard procedure for all law enforcement use of force investigations involving death in the Third Judicial Circuit, Deputy Lundy’s case was taken before a grand jury on May 5, 2014. The 21 member grand jury cleared Lundy of any wrong doing.

State Attorney Jeff Siegmeister added, "I concur completely with the report findings of the Taylor County Grand Jury. Deputy Lundy should be commended for his bravery and heroism. He clearly saved the lives of potentially multiple victims, while putting himself in harms' way, suffering potentially life-threatening wounds in the process. Based on my knowledge of the investigation, God was looking out for Deputy Lundy and the other victims. As May is Law Enforcement Memorial Month, I hope everyone appreciates law enforcement and public safety officers for their sacrifices. Taylor County should be very proud of one of their own, Deputy Lundy."

The investigation shows that on Feb. 5, Deputy Lundy responded immediately and despite being critically wounded was able to shoot Mr. Clague Jr. preventing him from hurting additional civilians. Mr. Clague Jr. died at the scene and two other civilians shot by Mr. Clague Jr. continue to recover from their injuries.

The investigation related to Mr. Clague’s actions remains active.


Updated By: Eyewitness News
February 20, 2014, 6pm

The Taylor County Deputy being hailed as a hero is beginning his third week in the hospital recovering from his injuries.

On February 5, 2014, Deputy Robert Lundy happened to be at a Perry car dealership getting an oil change when Earl Clague, Jr. opened fire.

Lundy was wounded, but he managed to shoot and kill Clague.

Two other people at the Timberland Ford Dealership were also wounded by Clague.

According to Lundy's wife, the Deputy is in serious but stable condition.

Right now, he's going through specialized treatment at Shands Hospital in Gainesville.

His condition has improved, and he's described as being alert and responsive to questions and comments.

The two other victims are also still recovering.


Updated By: Garin Flowers
February 19, 2014, 4:30pm

According to his wife and someone close to the situation, Deputy Robert Lundy is in serious but stable condition.

Right now he's going through specialized treatment at Shands Hospital.

His condition has improved, he's described as being alert and responsive to questions and comments.


By: Julie Montanaro
February 14, 2014, 3 p.m.

Perry, Fla. -- Two victims of a recent shooting at a Perry car dealership have been identified.

John Mahoney and Mike Cook were both employees at the Timberland Ford Dealership where the shooting took place. The suspect, 51-year-old Earl Edward Cague, Jr., was also an employee at the dealership.

Taylor County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Lundy, a third shooting victim, was in the dealership having his car serviced and immediately responded to the gunfire. Deputy Lundy and Clague, Jr. then exchanged fire. Clague, Jr. was killed, and at last report, Deputy Lundy continues to remain in critical, but stable condition in the hospital.


News Release: FDLE

Updated: February 7, 2014, 11pm

Deputy Robert Lundy was transferred from Doctors Memorial Hospital in Perry, Fla. to UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Fla. tonight. He is undergoing surgery and will receive specialized treatment for his injuries. Deputy Lundy continues to remain in critical, but stable condition.


Updated By: Garin Flowers

February 7, 2014, 5:30pm

The Ford Timberland Dealership in Perry, where there were multiple shootings, will remain closed until next week.

And victims in the shooting are still recovering from their injuries.

Caution tape currently surrounds the dealership, meaning it's still closed off, and no one is allowed in.

The building is boarded up, and we have video of guys working on that earlier.

FDLE says 51-year-old Earl Clague Jr. rammed his car in the building, got out and starting shooting, hitting three people including Taylor County Sheriff Deputy Robert Lundy.

FDLE says Lundy also fired shots and hit and killed Clague.

Deputy Lundy and the other two victims survived.

The Taylor County Sheriff has been at the hospital with Lundy. He says Lundy is still in critical condition but with stable vital signs. He says he has been in and out of consciousness.

FDLE tells us the other two victims are still recovering as well.

As for the dealership, authorities didn't tell us the exact day it would be open, but said it would be sometime next week.


UPDATED 10:35 p.m.
By James Buechele

"It's just an amazing shock because he was always a quiet individual," said Perry resident Jerry Mathews.

Mathews went to high school with Earl Clague Jr. Clague drove his pickup truck into the Timberland Ford Dealership on Wednesday before shooting three people including Taylor County Sheriff's Deputy Robert Lundy.

Just four months ago, Mathews says Clague helped him at that same dealership.

"I called the Ford place about some parts and talked with'em and he went way above and beyond trying to locate a part for the truck."

More than 24 hours later, law enforcement officials are still here at the crime scene in Perry. Early Thursday morning, some of those same law enforcement officials did something to help Deputy Lundy get back on his feet.

They went to Buckeye Community Federal Credit Union to open a fund to help his family.

"We consider him a hero," said BCFCU president Charlton Knowles. "There could have been other victims had he not taken the action that he did. We're very proud of him."

It may take some time before the town of Perry heals from that tragic day.

"I just have prayers for both sides of the family and ask the Lord to put his hand around them and take care of them," said Mathews.


UPDATED
By Julie Montanaro

The deputy shot in a shootout inside the Timberland Ford dealership
is still in critical but stable condition.

Today, the Taylor County Sheriff said Deputy Robert Lundy was in the right place at the right time and used all his skill and training to save lives.

One technician at the dealership told us today that he wasn't sure he would live to see his birthday today and he is so thankful Lundy was there.

The technician wouldn't comment on camera, but lots of locals consider Lundy a hero.

"I think it's awesome that he was here...its kind of like God put him here for a reason to be at that place at that time," Perry resident Nancy Dowling said. "He just did what he thought was best, which was good because there was so many people that worked in the dealership that if he hadn't had stopped him, you don't know who would have."

Taylor County Sheriff Bummy Williams says Lundy's co-workers at the sheriff's office are all shaken by what happened in those two minutes.

"We're a very small department, we're all like brothers and sisters, and if one of us is hurt, down, whatever, we all are," Sheriff Williams said.

Lundy underwent surgery Wednesday and is still recovering at Doctor's Memorial Hospital in Perry. He is listed in critical but stable condition. We have not yet been able to speak with his family.

The governor's office confirms the governor did call the Lundy family last night to offer his thanks and support.

A fund has been set up to help Deputy Lundy and his family.

Buckeye Community Federal Credit Union
1825 South Jefferson Street
Perry, FL 32348
(850) 223-7100


By: Lanetra Bennett
February 6, 2014

Perry, FL - Authorities have confirmed the other two people who were shot along with Taylor County Deputy Robert Lundy, were employees at the Timberland Ford Dealership. Their names have not been released.

Investigators have released how much heat Earl Edward Clague was packing.

FBI Special Agent Mark Leon says, "These shooting situations are rare but have tremendous impact on a community. Research says these types of incidents are typically very brief, lasting only a few seconds to a few minutes."

Special agents say that's all the time it took for Earl Edward Clague to ram his truck into the Timberland Ford Dealership in Perry Wednesday morning.

Thursday, authorities revealed that once the 51-year-old got out of the truck, he used a 12-gauge shotgun to shoot inside of the place where he'd worked for nearly 20 years.

Authorities say Clague had a box of ammunition and loose shells for that shotgun with him.

Special Agent Don Ladner with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, says, "In his vehicle, he also had a second fully loaded 12-gauge shotgun pump action and a 22 rifle fully laded. He also had additional ammunition in the vehicle. While we do not know his motive, we feel confident that his intent was to shoot and hurt as many people as possible."

Authorities say Clague exchanged shots with Taylor County Deputy Robert Lundy, who happened to be at the dealership getting an oil change at the time.

Deputy Lundy and two dealership employees were shot and taken to the hospital. Clague was killed.

Deputies and Perry Police were then called. "And they were on scene almost immediately. We had many other law enforcement officers and agencies come to assist afterwards. But immediately we had many people there." Says, CAPT Jamie Cruse with the Perry Police Department.

FDLE special agents say Clague was a current employee at the dealership. They tell us the shooting happened shortly after he called in sick Wednesday.

Special Agent Ladner says, "He just called in and said, not feeling well, won't be in today. There were no issues at the time. Shortly thereafter, he drove his truck through and the shooting began. Sometime previously in his history, his employment history with the dealership, he had been let go due to some issues."

Ladner did not release what those issues on the job were, but, says it's something that happened several years ago. He says Clague was currently in good standing on the job.

Authorities say they do not know what Clague's motive was at this time. The investigation is ongoing.


By: Julie Montanaro
February 6, 2014, 3pm

FDLE agents say Earl Edward Clague was firing a Remington 1100 semi-automatic shotgun. They say he had a second fully loaded shotgun and a fully loaded 22 caliber rifle in his truck as well as additional ammunition.

FDLE agents say Clague's family is devastated by what happened and is fully cooperating with the investigation.

Taylor County Sheriff Bummy Williams says Deputy Robert Lundy was in the right place at the right time. He says Lundy underwent surgery and is still in critical condition. He says Lundy has been with the Taylor County Sheriffs Office since March 2004.

A fund for Lundy's family has been set up at the Buckeye Community Credit Union.

A Perry Police spokesman says the two others shot in the dealership remain hospitalized. Their names have not been released.


By: Julie Montanaro
February 6, 2014, 2:20pm

Perry, Fla. -- FDLE says the man who opened fire in a Perry car dealership had extra ammunition on him as well as two fully loaded guns and extra ammunition in his truck.

Special Agent Don Ladner says Earl Edward Clague was in good standing at work and had called in sick yesterday.

Ladner says agents are still trying to pinpoint a motive for the shooting.

He says he cannot comment right now on how many shots were fired.


News Release: FDLE

PERRY, Fla. - The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Taylor County Sheriff's Office, Perry Police Department and the FBI will hold a press conference this afternoon to provide an update on the Earl Edward Clague, Jr. shooting investigation.

The news conference details are as follows:

Date: Thursday, February 6, 2014
Time: 2 p.m. EST
Location: Taylor County Emergency Operations Center
591 East U.S. Highway 27
Perry, Fla.


News Release: FDLE

February 5, 2013, 6:30pm

PERRY, Fla. – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Tallahassee Regional Operations Center, Perry Police Department and Taylor County Sheriff’s Office are investigating, with assistance from the FBI, a shooting in which a Taylor County sheriff’s deputy exchanged gunfire with a suspect.

Just before 10:30 a.m. today, Earl Edward Clague, Jr., 51, an employee of Timberland Ford in Perry, Fla., crashed a vehicle into the front of the dealership, exited the vehicle, and began shooting.

Taylor County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Lundy was in the dealership having his car serviced and immediately responded. Gunfire was exchanged and Clague, Jr. was killed. Two civilians were shot and are recovering at local hospitals while three additional victims suffered minor injuries.

Timeline:

10:28:31 Deputy Lundy radioed shots were fired.
10:29:17 Deputy Lundy announced he had been shot.
10:29:24 In less than one minute after Deputy Lundy’s announcement of shots fired, officers arrived on scene.
11:10 Deputy Lundy went into surgery.
4:00 p.m. Deputy Lundy was in stable, but critical condition.

“The selfless actions of this deputy saved many lives today,” said Taylor County Sheriff L.E. “Bummy” Williams. “The safety of the citizens of Taylor County is our main concern, and Deputy Lundy was willing to risk his own life today to save others. I am proud of his bravery and his heroism is to be commended. Deputy Lundy, his family and the victims are in my prayers.”

Grief counselors and victims’ advocates will be available to speak to those impacted at 6:00 p.m. tonight at Taylor County Middle School.


Updated By: Julie Montanaro and Lanetra Bennett

February 5, 2013, 6pm

Shots rang out at a car dealership in Perry.

A Taylor County Deputy and two others were shot inside Timberland Ford.

At about 10:30 this morning, an employee crashed his truck through the showroom window, got out, and started firing.

Deputy Robert Lundy was there having his patrol car serviced. He started firing back. He radioed in shots fired and a minute later "office down".

It all happened in two minutes.

The gunman shot the Deputy and two employees before the Deputy shot and killed him.

FDLE confirmed the gunman was 51 year old Earl Edward Clague, a current employee at Timberland Ford. They say he had a semi-automatic rifle, and had the Deputy not been there, it could have been much worse.


Updated By: Julie Montanaro and Garin Flowers

February 5, 2014, 5:30pm

Shots rang out at a car dealership in Perry. A deputy and two others were shot.

At about 10:30 this morning, 51-year-old Earl Edward Clague, Jr. of Taylor County crashed his truck through the showroom window, got out, and started firing.

FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plesinger said:

“The shooter has been confirmed as 51-year-old Earl Edward Clague, Jr. We know that he’s from Taylor County, and he was a current employee of the dealership. We don’t have a motive yet. That’s what the investigation will show… Two other employees were shot as well. They both are in local hospitals. We do believe they will survive, and we think they’re going to be okay. We’re not releasing their identities at this time… [Clague] used a semi-automatic shotgun. We aren’t releasing any further details about the ammunition at this time. It is still a very active investigation… [Lundy] was remarkable. He did everything he should have done. He saved a lot of lives today.”

There's still a lot of activity on Byron Butler Parkway, in front of Timberland Ford.

The southbound lane is still closed off, but traffic is open both ways on the northbound lane.

FDLE told WCTV just how fast everything went down.

By 10:28 a.m. Deputy Robert Lundy radioed in saying shots were fired, by 10:29 he called in “officer down” and before 10:30, officers were already on the scene.

People have been in and out of the Goodman’s BBQ parking lot where WCTV met a mechanic from Timberland Ford who witnessed part of the shooting. He says he saw shell casings everywhere then turned to run. He also says he knew Clague.

That man didn't want to speak on camera, but we met a couple passing through Perry that was eating at the Goodman’s BBQ spot directly next door to where all of this happened.

“They always put their lives on the line. That’s the risk they take with their job. It’s kind of devastating; they’re the people that protect you. Our prayers are with them… It’s kind of scary. It’s definitely scary and frightful because it can occur anywhere in the United States in this day and age. You really don’t know how people are going to react or what they’re reacting to,” said Connie Oats, an eyewitness.

We reached out to Timberland Ford to find out more. Right now nothing is being released about the suspect as authorities continue to investigate.

Friends and family are gathered at hospital right now. Robert Lundy is a ten-year veteran of the force. Sheriffs came from many surrounding counties to help.

We will continue to update everyone on the latest details.


Updated By: Garin Flowers

February 5, 2014, 5:15pm

FDLE has confirmed the shooting suspect was 51-year-old Earl Edward Clague, Jr. from Taylor County. He was a current employee of the Timberland Ford dealership.

The other two people shot were also employees of the dealership.

We will update you with more information.


Updated By: Julie Montanaro and Lanetra Bennett

February 5, 2014, 5pm

Three people including a Taylor County Deputy were shot at a car dealership in Perry.

In the heart of Perry in front of Timberland Ford on Byron Butler Parkway, WCTV got updated information from FDLE within the last hour. Here's what we know.

FDLE says an employee crashed his truck through the front of the showroom, got out, and started firing.

A Taylor County Deputy, Robert Lundy, happened to be there getting his patrol car serviced and returned fire.

The suspect, who is an employee, was shot and killed.

Lundy was shot and so were two other people. FDLE says it is hopeful all three will survive.

All of this happened in about two minutes.

WCTV spoke with a mechanic from the Ford dealership who says he was inside of the building when the shooting started.

He told WCTV that the suspect drove his pickup truck into the building, got out, and started shooting in the front of the dealership. He says the shooter then made his way to the service area and started shooting there.

That employee was too shaken up to go on camera, but here is one Perry resident who says he was near the area at the time and heard several gunshots.

"Obviously it was very scary. Our office is very close, and we actually locked down our office in case the shooter got away and was out on the road. So we just had to take all the precautions we could," said Doug Everett, Perry resident.

FDLE says the shooter died on the scene. His identity has not been released.

An FDLE spokeswoman says she cannot confirm whether the other two people who were shot were customers or employees.

The Sheriff and many other law enforcement officers are at the hospital right now.

Lundy is in critical but stable condition. The mechanic that WCTV talked to said Lundy's wife says he has had surgery and is doing okay.

Sheriff Bummy Williams says this has been a very difficult day; he's not ready to talk just yet.

Coming up at 5:30 we’ll have a live interview with FDLE, hopefully with some newly updated information.


Updated By: Julie Montanaro
February 5, 2014, 4:15pm

An FDLE spokeswoman says Taylor County Deputy Robert Lundy is in critical but stable condition in the wake of a shooting at a car dealership in Perry. Gretl Plesinger says two others were shot but she could not specify whether they were employees or customers at Timberland Ford. Plesinger says they are hopeful all three will survive.

Plesinger says the suspect drove his truck through the front of the dealership, got out and started shooting. FDLE is not releasing his name but says he was an employee at the dealership. They are not sure of a motive for the shooting.

Plesinger says Deputy Lundy happened to be at the dealership to have his patrol car serviced. Lundy radioed in shots fired at 10:28 and then radioed a minute later "officer down."

FDLE says Lundy shot and killed the suspect, and they believe he saved a lot of lives today.

The Taylor County Sheriff and other law enforcement officers are gatherers at the hospital now.


By Lanetra Bennett
February 5, 2014, 1pm

Perry, Fla. -- The FDLE Crime Unit is now on the scene at a Perry, Fla. Ford dealership shooting.

The shooting took place around 10:30 this morning.

FDLE says that the shooting suspect is dead after entering the dealership and opening fire, injuring 3, including a Taylor County Deputy.

FDLE reports that they have opened one northbound lane by the Timberland Ford dealership at 2441 S Byron Butler Pkwy. to allow southbound traffic through.

Stay with WCTV Eyewitness News for the latest details on the shooting.


By Lanetra Bennett
February 5, 2014, 12pm

Perry, Fla. -- FDLE has confirmed that 3 shooting victims have been taken to the hospital in the wake of a morning shooting in Perry, Fla.

FDLE says that one of the three individuals shot was a Taylor County Deputy.

The suspect has been reported dead on the scene, and FDLE has not released if there were any other fatalities.

WCTV has also learned that both lanes of traffic around the Timberland Ford dealership at 2441 S Byron Butler Pkwy. have been blocked off.

FDLE is still investigating the shooting, and WCTV will bring you more details as they become available.


By WCTV Eyewitness News

Perry, Fla. -- The Perry Police Department has confirmed that there has been a shooting at the Timberland Ford Dealership at 2441 S Byron Butler Pkwy in Perry, Fla.

FDLE is investigating, but as of right now, we do not have any further details about the shooting incident, or any possible injuries.

WCTV has a reporter headed to the dealership right now, and will bring you the details as they become available.


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