Marion County

Sheriff says man pulled knife on deputies in ‘senseless attack’ before fatal shooting in The Villages

MARION COUNTY, Fla. — Two Marion County deputies were finishing up pumping gas Tuesday night when a man with a history of violence against first responders charged at them with a large knife, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said in a news conference Friday.

Woods said deputies fired at the man, identified as Eliezer Perez, 51, and he later died of his injuries.

Deputies said the shooting happened at the convenience store in the 8600 block of 165th Mulberry Lane in The Villages.

They said Perez exited a vehicle and was wielding a large knife, causing the deputies to shoot to stop the attack, according to deputies.

It isn’t known why Perez attacked the deputies, who were not injured.

Woods referred to the attack as a “senseless attack on law enforcement.”

He said Perez was previously charged with three counts of aggravated assault after attacking firefighters with a knife in South Florida in 2014.

“Evil raised its head at a time you least expect it," a deputy said during a press conference. "An evil man pulled up with every intention to kill them with a large knife.”

Christopher Boyce,

Christopher Boyce joined WFTV in January of 2019.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson,

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.