Florida Man Engages in Four-Hour Standoff, Sets Home on Fire, and Shoots Deputy During Shoplifted Cigarettes Dispute

A man from Florida set his Deltona home on fire and shot a deputy during a four-hour standoff on Wednesday. The standoff was sparked by a dispute over stolen cigarettes from a convenience store. The deputy who was shot sustained non-life-threatening injuries, while another bullet hit a sergeant’s ballistic shield.

According to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, the incident began when deputies responded to a report of a regular customer shoplifting cigarettes from a Wawa store. The suspect, identified as Dempsey Hadley, was reported to have a knife but did not display a gun. When deputies arrived at the scene, Hadley fled in his vehicle and attempted to evade law enforcement.

Despite deputies deploying stop sticks to deflate the tires of his vehicle, Hadley managed to drive at a slow speed to his home on Whitehorse Court. Deputies conducted a felony stop on the vehicle, but Hadley refused to comply and fired at the deputies when they approached to remove him from the vehicle. The deputies then retreated as Hadley was observed lighting fires inside his truck.

The sheriff’s office indicated that deputies were able to safely evacuate the suspect’s son and a dog from inside the house. Negotiators, SWAT teams, K-9s, drones, and the Air One helicopter were deployed, while fire and EMS crews were staged nearby.

SWAT used a vehicle to reposition Hadley’s truck and block it from fleeing, ultimately pushing it into the garage. Hadley then entered the attic of the house, where smoke and flames became visible, engulfing the upper floors. Despite this, Hadley refused to surrender but eventually emerged onto a second-floor balcony.

SWAT approached with a specialized vehicle to dismantle the balcony and bring Hadley to the ground, away from the burning house. Hadley was then taken into custody and treated for his injuries on the scene before being transported to the hospital.

As a result of the incident, Hadley has been charged with three counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement, and petit retail theft. The deputy who was shot was fortunate to escape with non-life-threatening injuries, and the sheriff’s office is grateful that the situation was resolved without further harm.


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