Citra, FL - Marion County Sheriff's Office has announced that one of their deputies was shot at in an unprovoked attack Sunday morning.
The deputy responded to a call at the Paradise Bar and Lounge located at 13007 North US Highway 441 at around 2:00 a.m.
Deputy Joseph Spratlin attempted to disperse a crowd at the bar, when suddenly the deputy and the crowd around him came under fire.
An unidentified suspect fired numerous rounds, which struck the deputy's patrol car as he took cover behind it with other citizens.
Backup arrived and they were unable to locate the suspect. It's believed that nobody was hit in the shooting.
The sheriff's office says that the deputy was unable to return fire during the shooting because he was working on getting nearby citizens to cover.
Authorities are attempting to locate eyewitnesses who may have more information about the shooting.
“Enough is enough,” Sheriff Billy Woods said in a statement. “A law enforcement officer’s worst fear came true in Gilchrist County last week, and I can tell you that all of my people are on edge. The shooting early this morning hits us right here at home and this type of senseless violence has got to stop. Every single day, all of us in law enforcement, whether we wear green, blue or black and tan uniforms, leave our families to serve and protect you, our citizens. I implore you to at least help us protect you from those who commit crimes like this. Whoever committed this crime last night is a danger to us all. Someone needs to do the right thing and turn that person, or persons, in TODAY.”
Anybody with information on the shooting is asked to call Marion County Crime Stoppers at 352-368-STOP. Reference 18-29 in your tip and you may be eligible for a cash reward.