• Deputies: Marion man fires 50 rounds at SWAT vehicle during standoff


    MARION COUNTY, Fla. - Marion County sheriff's investigators said a standoff over the weekend became so dangerous, the agency's armored tank was riddled with bullet holes.

    Deputies said Dustin Heathman started shooting after barricading himself in a Williston home on Sunday and now the Sheriff's Office's armored truck looks like it's been through a battle.

    According to authorities, the ordeal began because the 35-year-old was wanted for violating probation and attempts to talk with him didn't work for deputies.

    "His initial plan was to shoot as many officers as he could and then die by suicide by cop," said Maj. Thomas Bibb with the Sheriff's Office.

    Heathman's family warned he was dangerous and the SWAT team was just 30 yards away when opened fire. According to investigators, Heathman fired 50 rounds at the armored tank but none of them made it through the glass, which is four inches thick.

    "Didn't make a lot of sound when the glass was struck. But then there were numerous rounds that hit the metal portion of the vehicle that made a ping sound to it. They came very rapidly.  You could tell it was a very high powered rifle being fired at us," said SWAT team member Sgt. Ryan Robbins.

    After several minutes, deputies said the suspect was injured by flying glass.

    "I believe he believed at the time he got hit and I think he realized we got guns," said Marion County Sheriff Chris Blair.

    Heathman surrendered and was taken into custody. Officiasl said the SWAT team seized more than two dozens guns, 4,000 rounds of ammo and military gear, some of which had swastikas on it.

    Deputies charged Heathman with ten counts of attempted murder and he faces a possible federal charge for having an automatic weapon. Detectives said they're also looking into possible links to anti-government groups.

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