Police in Hillsborough County, Fla., have charged a former Marine with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer with a firearm after they say he “essentially ambushed” a deputy responding to a domestic violence call.
Hillsborough County Deputy Lyonelle de Veaux, 35, was in serious but stable condition today, allegedly shot three times at point-blank range by former Marine Matthew Buendia, ABC affiliate WFTS-TV in Tampa, Fla., reported.
The incident occurred Friday night, after de Veaux responded to a 911 call from Buendia’s apartment and was met by the former Marine’s girlfriend at the entrance to the complex. As the deputy was helping the 28-year-old woman into the police car, Buendia allegedly approached her with a gun under his coat, pulled it out and shot her at least three times.
The deputy was wearing a bullet-proof vest, but she was hit in unprotected areas, police said.
“She was hit three times. There were at least three times that many rounds that were fired near her car,” Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said. “Essentially, she was ambushed within 4 or 5 feet of her car at almost point-blank range.
“She did a really good job of being able to protect herself at the time and not take a more devastating hit than she did,” he said. “She followed a really good training methodology, and I think that’s what helped her survive.”
Buendia then barricaded himself in his apartment and held police in a standoff for nearly five hours, until deputies broke through the door with an explosive charge, and then sent a bomb robot into the apartment. Buendia was found unconscious in a closet, WFTS-TV reported.
He was taken to Tampa General Hospital to be examined, and when he is released will be taken to the county jail.
The suspect’s brother, Zach Buendia told WFTS-TV his brother suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome.
“He’s an excellent person. This is not like him at all.,” said Buendia. “We’ve tried to get him help, but the VA couldn’t give him the help he needed.”
His uncle, Bob Buendia, told The Associated Press Buendia served in Iraq and also said he had PTSD.
“I know he had been going to the VA hospital quite a bit, and they’d been putting him off, putting him off,” Bob Buendia said. “He’d been getting frustrated.”