A retired 25-year police veteran put some of his old skills, and his old gun, to work in Florida Monday night when he successfully fended off a suspected carjacker.
WTLV News reports retired Jacksonville Sheriff’s officer Bill Strudel, 67, had stopped his car to buy some ice from a roadside vending machine when a teen, allegedly armed with what appeared to be a handgun, approached his vehicle.
Strudel, who retired from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in 2005, was carrying his old service weapon, which was given to him as a retirement gift.
The former officer now works as Associate Director of Police & Public Safety at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, and is deputy chief of the school’s police force.
He told UNF Police Chief Frank Mackesy what happened after the teen approached his vehicle.
Mackesy, who drove Strudel to the hospital after the incident, passed that information along to the The Florida Times-Union.
Mackesy told the paper Strudel said he saw the teen approach from a group of individuals who were standing in the parking lot where the ice vending machine is located.
The teen then allegedly stuck the gun in Strudel’s face and demanded his vehicle. Strudel reportedly smacked the gun away but the teen pointed the gun back at him. The second time Strudel tried to smack the gun away the teen allegedly struck him in the head with the gun, cutting Strudel’s forehead and damaging his glasses.
Strudel then pulled out his old service weapon and fired several shots, including one that struck the 15-year-old in the buttocks. Strudel then held the suspect at gunpoint until authorities arrived.
“The suspect messed with the wrong guy,” Mackesy told The Times-Union. “He was responding in a way he was trained to respond. If it had been anybody else out there, I don’t know how this would have turned out.”
Strudel went to a nearby hospital and received stitches for the cut on his head.
“He took a pretty significant blow to the head,” Mackesy said of his friend and colleague. “He was definitely shaken up.”
The teen was also taken in for treatment and then taken into custody. He is facing multiple charges, according to WTLV.
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Chief of Investigations Michael Bruno said Strudel will probably not face any charges.
"At this point in time [Strudel] is the victim of an attempted carjacking so, I mean, he has a right by Florida state statute, number one, to be armed as an off-duty police officer and has the right to defend himself," Bruno told WTLV.
Investigators are trying to determine if the weapon used by the suspect is a pellet gun or a firearm.
Photo Credit: The Florida Times-Union courtesy of University of North Florida, FCN