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Police shooting suspect caught

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 09:01 PM

A Polk County man faces charges of trying to kill law enforcement officers after a standoff Friday night that began with the shooting of an Auburndale police officer.

Officer Stacy Lee Booth, 26, was shot in the right forearm and abdomen at 10:17 p.m. as she approached a house at 413 Diamond Ridge Drive. She later was treated at Lakeland Regional Medical Center and was listed in critical but stable condition Saturday morning.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office arrested Michael Wayne Lester, 36. He is charged with four counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and one count each of possessing a firearm while engaged in a felony, shooting within a dwelling, aggravated battery and resisting arrest with violence.

According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, 911 dispatchers received hang-up calls from the house beginning shortly after 10 p.m. When authorities reached someone inside the house by telephone, a woman told them everything was OK, the sheriff's office reported.

Booth responded to a 911 call regarding a domestic violence incident. By the time Booth arrived at the house, Lester's daughter and her mother had left. Lester was alone.

Sheriff's officials said Lester fired a shotgun through the front door of the house, injuring Booth. She called for assistance and went next door until backup officers arrived, the sheriff's office reported.

Fire rescue officials took Booth to the medical center.

Lester held officers at bay for hours after Booth's shooting, firing more shotgun blasts from the house and refusing to come out.

Law enforcement officials from Hillsborough County, the Florida Highway Patrol, Winter Haven and the state Fire Marshal's Office also responded to the scene.

At about 1 a.m., the sheriff's office SWAT team fired tear gas canisters into the house. Lester was unconscious, possibly because of the gas, when officers removed him from the house, the sheriff's office reported.

Lester was taken to Lakeland Regional for treatment. He will have his first appearance at 9 a.m. today via a video feed to a Polk County courtroom.

Lester has a lengthy arrest record in Polk County for, among other things, domestic battery, trespassing and DUI.

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