Thursday, December 14, 2017

Update – East Williston Thanksgiving Shooting

UPDATE:  On November 28, 2017, LCSO published details of a reported shooting that occurred on November 24, 2017 at the business known as “Melvin and Alice’s Restaurant.”  The investigation revealed that two victims had been wounded by shotgun rounds fired by an unknown suspect.  Based on an extensive investigation, LCSO Investigator Justin Douglas was able to obtain an arrest warrant for Anthony Walter Vessels (7-19-91) for two counts of attempted murder. 

On December 11, 2017, members of the U.S. Marshal’s Service Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force located and arrested Vessels in Broward County, Florida.  Vessels will be held at the Levy County Detention Facility on a bond of four million dollars.  Sheriff McCallum said he is very proud of the investigative work by LCSO personnel and appreciative of the assistance provided by the Fugitive Task Force and others in this investigation. 

Investigators have already interviewed Vessels and the case remains active.  LCSO urges anyone with information regarding this incident to contact Investigator Justin Douglas or Justin VanDuren. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranch Burglar Arrested

December 7, 2017

The Levy County Sheriff’s Office Uniformed Patrol Division and the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) formally charged John William Gardenier (9-28-93) Tuesday, December 5, 2017. Mr. Gardenier was a person of interest in several burglary and theft investigations in the Inglis area of Levy County as well as a suspect in a burglary reported on November 9th by the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranch – Caruth Camp which is located north of the Town of Inglis on US Hwy 19.

The Uniformed Patrol Division was actively seeking Gardenier to arrest him and on November 17th Deputy Lee Prine spotted him riding a bicycle in Inglis near the Circle K located at the intersection of US 19 and SR 40. Deputy Prine attempted to stop and arrest Gardenier, but Gardenier had other plans and ran. Gardenier was able to escape into a nearby wooded lot and was not captured.

On November 21st CID applied for a warrant for Gardenier’s arrest based upon evidence obtained through their investigation at the Caruth Camp. A warrant was issued for Gardenier’s arrest for burglary, grand theft and grand theft of a motor vehicle. A $100,000.00 bond assigned to this warrant.

On November 27th, Deputy Prine spotted an unregistered motorcycle being ridden on SR 40 in Inglis. Deputy Prine activated his emergency lights, signaling the driver of the motorcycle to stop. The driver did stop, but as Deputy Prine exited his patrol vehicle the driver turned toward him, made a departing (not so nice) statement and sped away. Deputy Prine was able to identify the driver of the motorcycle as Gardenier. Gardenier fled into a nearby parking lot where he ditched the motorcycle and fled on foot. He was able to evade capture again.

Gardenier’s luck ran out on December 1st when an alert Citrus County deputy located and arrested him for the active Levy County warrant. Gardenier was placed in the Citrus County Detention Facility and later transferred to the Levy County Detention Facility on December 5th. When Gardenier arrived at the Levy County Detention Facility additional charges were filed by Deputy Prine.

Currently, Gardenier is being held in the Levy County Detention Facility and has been formally charged with burglary, grand theft, grand theft of a motor vehicle, fleeing and attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, failure to register a motor vehicle, operating a motorcycle without proper endorsement and three counts of resisting arrest without violence. His total bond is $195,500.00.

The Criminal Investigations Division is still actively working on additional cases in which Gardenier is a suspect. Anyone with information that could assist these investigations is asked to contact Investigator Mike McNeil at 352-486-5111, extension 266. Or, if you wish to remain anonymous, please contact LevyCrimeStoppers at 1-877-349-8477. You could be eligible for a cash reward.  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Free Active Threat Training - Offered by the Levy County Sheriff's Office

Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum is offering a free Active Threat Response class to interested citizen groups. This class is being offered in light of the many tragic active shooter and active threat events that are occurring in our country and around the world. This class will help our citizen groups be more prepared by knowing how to respond if ever involved in this type of situation. The class is approximately an hour long and includes a question and answer period, and is designed for citizens over 18 years old.

Classes will be offered by the Levy County Sheriff’s Office Community Relations Division once our citizen interest groups have been established and a schedule can be designed. These classes are currently being offered to businesses, churches or civic groups. Sheriff McCallum urges each of these groups to take advantage of this free class so that you can be more prepared.

Please contact Deputy Grant Sandlin to inquire about class scheduling or to schedule an event for your business, church or civic group by calling the Levy County Sheriff’s Office at 352-486-5111 or email directly. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

**Update – Deputy Involved Shooting November 16, 2017

December 4, 2017

On November 16, 2017 three Levy County Deputy Sheriffs responded to 7450 NW 110 Street in Chiefland to a reported domestic violence complaint with an armed subject. Deputies arrived and confronted Michael Wesley Goodale (7-21-83) at the front door of this residence. Goodale was armed with two knives and refused to comply with all lawful orders given by deputies. Deputies deployed Tasers in an attempt to disarm Goodale, but the Tasers were ineffective. Goodale attacked our Deputies which forced them to use their agency issued handguns to stop this attack. Goodale was struck by two bullets fired by our deputies and did not survive his injuries. Two deputies sustained minor injuries during the altercation.

The Levy County Deputies involved in this incident were placed on administrative leave with pay that same evening in compliance with our agency policy. Sheriff McCallum contacted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and requested they conduct an independent investigation into this incident. Sheriff McCallum was recently updated on the progress of the FDLE investigation and has authorized all three deputies to return to duty.

On the date this incident was reported by the complainant, who called 911 to report the emergency, the LCSO Communications Division dispatched the nearest unit available and back-up units. Deputy Robert “Bob” Cannon was the first to arrive on scene. K-9 Sergeant Kevin Kinik and K-9 Deputy Gary Garboski arrived within two minutes of Deputy Cannon’s arrival.

Deputy Cannon has been employed with the LCSO since May of 2005 with prior experience as a Police Officer with the Chiefland Police Department and as a Correctional Officer with the Florida Department of Corrections. Sergeant Kinik began his career with the LCSO in January of 2004 and has four years of prior experience with the Chiefland Police Department. Deputy Garboski began his second career in law enforcement with the LCSO in November of 2015 after completing a full career with the Tampa Police Department.

This deadly encounter is the only time Levy County deputies have been forced to engage a criminal suspect with deadly force since 2005. In both these instances the lives of our deputies and our community were endangered. This is a tragedy for all involved. Our deputies, as well as every other law enforcement officer across this nation, have to make the most difficult decisions in a split second to preserve life.

The family of Mr. Goodale was forever altered that night and these deputy’s lives have also been affected. Our thoughts and prayers are with our men and women who have taken an oath to protect those in our community who entrust us with their safety, and with the Goodale family.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Thanksgiving Dispute Turns Violent

On Friday, November 24th, 2017, at approximately 11:15 pm Levy County Deputies responded to 4011 NE 205th Avenue in Williston to Melvin and Alice’s BBQ in reference a shooting incident.  Deputies arrived and discovered two individuals with gunshot wounds. One victim was driven by a bystander to a local hospital before being flown by ShandsCair with life threatening injuries. The second victim was transported by ambulance to a local trauma center. One victim is currently listed in critical condition; the other is listed in critical but stable condition.

Levy County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division responded and began their investigation. Investigators were able to identify a person of interest in the shooting. Investigators believe victims and suspect may have known each other. The shooting is believed to be in retaliation of prior altercation between the suspect and one of the victims.

Investigators say multiple eye witnesses were at Melvin and Alice’s restaurant at the time this shooting occurred. Law Enforcement depends on our community member’s cooperation to build solid cases which help keep our neighborhoods safe.  Anyone who was present and/or has information that would help in the investigation is being asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 352-486-5111 and request Investigator Justin Douglas at extension 291 or Investigator Justin Vanduren at extension 270.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Update – Deputy Involved Shooting


November 17, 2017

The Levy County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division Deputies responded to 7450 NW 110 Street in Chiefland to a domestic disturbance on November 16 at 8:40 pm. Three deputies responded to the scene and were confronted by an armed male subject.  After attempting to subdue the suspect with less lethal weapons, two deputies were forced to discharge their firearms at the suspect.  Michael Wesley Goodale (7-21-83) was transported to Shands at UF as a trauma alert but did not survive his injuries.  At this time there is no further danger to anyone in the neighborhood related to this incident. 

Two deputies were injured during the encounter.  They were treated and released from a local hospital.  Pursuant to LCSO policy, the deputies involved in the incident have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation and the State Attorney’s Office review.

Sheriff McCallum said he is saddened by these events and extends his condolences to the family affected by this incident.  He expressed his appreciation for the other agencies that assisted LCSO during the incident and commended the courage and professionalism exhibited by all of the involved personnel. 

Further media inquiries should be directed to the FDLE Public Information Officer Gretl Plessinger in the Tallahassee Regional Office. 

Deputy Involved Shooting Incident

November 17, 2017

Levy County Deputies responded to 7450 NW 110th Street in Chiefland in reference to domestic disturbance on Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 8:40 pm. Deputies arrived and were confronted by an armed individual. Responding deputies discharged their weapons at the suspect.

The incident is currently being investigated by Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).  Media inquiries should be directed to the FDLE Public Information Officer Gretl Plessinger in the Tallahassee Regional Office. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Fugitive Arrested in North Carolina

November 8, 2017

The Levy County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division began an investigation in August of 2017 based upon a complaint of Lewd and Lascivious Molestation where Thomas Hollifield (5-3-90) of Williston, Florida was listed as the suspect. In September investigators applied for a warrant charging Hollifield with one count of molesting a juvenile female victim and two counts of Lewd Exhibition. These two charges of Lewd Exhibition formally identify two different juvenile female victims. Levy County Judge Tim Browning assigned the bond for this warrant at $1.5 million dollars. Investigators immediately attempted to locate Hollifield after securing the warrant and found he had fled Florida.

The LCSO is a part of the United States Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force (FRFTF). The FRFTF assists local law enforcement when criminals flee the jurisdiction. The FRFTF began searching for Hollifield and located him today in North Carolina. Hollifield was taken into custody and will be transported back to Levy County to face his charges.