Polk County

Robbery suspect shot in the neck after threatening Polk County deputies with rifle, sheriff says

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A deputy in Polk County shot a robbery suspect Saturday morning, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

READ: Polk County deputy shoots man accused of stealing 2 cars, stabbing man

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Matthew Correa, 27, was armed with a rifle during a robbery when he was shot by a deputy on State Road 540 near Winter Haven.


Deputies said Correa’s crime spree began when he and a woman went to the Sunrise Supermarket parking lot and stole a red pickup truck.

The couple arrived around 8:44 a.m. at the Ramirez Tires store on Spirit Lake Road near Winter Haven, officials said.

Deputies said Correa and the woman went into the store and asked an employee for money, but the employee said there was no money. Correa then pulled a rifle out of a duffel bag, closed the door to the office, pointed the gun toward the employee and began looking for money.

READ: ‘Running gun battle’ between drivers in Winter Haven leaves 4 shot, 1 dead, sheriff says

The two were later spotted by deputies in the stolen truck driving southbound on US-17 near Cypress Gardens Boulevard, according to a report.

Deputies said they tried to stop the truck with stop sticks, and Correa intentionally tried to hit one of the deputies with the truck.

Deputies said they eventually surrounded the truck and forced it to stop. Correa, while still in the truck, pointed the rifle under his chin and told deputies multiple times to kill him.

After threatening the deputies, Correa smashed a beer bottle over his head while holding the rifle, which a deputies believed was gunfire, according to a report.

READ: ‘They’re lured:’ Trafficking victims often trapped by people they know, experts say

The deputy shot Correa in the neck and Correa dropped the rifle, officials said.

“Thank God none of our deputies were injured today,” Judd said. “The suspect made several bad choices this morning, including the choice that forced our sergeant to shoot him. We still need help trying to determine who the white female suspect is and where she was left. She was not present during the traffic stop and shooting.”

Deputies said Correa has a prior criminal history of three felonies, including a home invasion burglary, and spent five years in state prison.

Deputies said anyone with information about the identity woman with Correa is asked to call the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 863-298-6200.

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