Florida politician shoots intruder on the run from cops, police say

Palmetto Commissioner Brian Williams.
Palmetto Commissioner Brian Williams. Bradenton Herald file photo

A Palmetto city commissioner shot a man in self-defense after that man broke into his home after crashing into his neighbor’s house while fleeing from a traffic stop, according to police.

The suspect, Avelino Misreal Vasquez-Perez, is also a nearby neighbor.

At about 10 p.m. Thursday, Palmetto police officers spotted Vasquez-Perez driving recklessly, thought he was impaired and attempted to pull him over, according to Chief of Police Scott Tyler.

Instead, Vasquez-Perez sped off, only to crash a few blocks later into a home in the 600 block of Fourth Street West.

Provided photo

Vasquez-Perez and his passenger ran from the crash, but officers were able to quickly catch his passenger. As police set up a perimeter around the neighborhood looking for him, Vasquez-Perez climbed a fence into Palmetto Commissioner Brian Williams’ backyard and broke into the garage of his home in an apparent attempt to hide from police.

Williams’ daughter, who lives next door, spotted Vasquez-Perez and called her dad. Williams armed himself, then heard Vasquez-Perez trying to get into the kitchen from the garage. Vasquez-Perez was then confronted by Williams at gunpoint. Vasquez-Perez attempted to push past and punch Williams, who then pushed Vasquez-Perez back and shot him twice, according to Tyler.

“He was lawfully defending home and family,” Tyler said.

Vasquez-Perez surrendered to police and was rushed to Blake Medical Center, where he underwent surgery. As of Friday, he was in stable condition and expected to recover from his injuries.

Williams declined to comment while the police investigation into the shooting remains open other than to say, “I am glad that everything turned out the way it did. I guess he is doing OK and we are happy and glad that no one in my family was hurt.”

Vasquez-Perez is facing charges of resisting arrest without violence, burglary and battery in addition to traffic citations.

Teri Debaylo’s husband was sleeping in their bedroom when Vasquez-Perez crashed into that side of their home and was grateful that no one else was injured.

“The house started rumbling and then we heard a crash,” Debaylo said. “I thought the house was coming down.”

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.