VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — (VCSO) – Two Volusia Sheriff’s Office K-9s are recovering from gunshot wounds after an armed carjacking suspect hiding in the woods in Deltona opened fire on them in two shootings over the course of about two hours early Saturday morning.
The suspect, 21-year-old Shedrick Singleton Jr., was wounded by deputies who closed in and returned fire around 2:20 a.m. at the scene off Lake Helen Osteen Road and Capri Circle, near Deltona Gardens Apartments and a Lowe’s store.
K-9 Ax, who was shot in the side of his face in an initial shooting shortly after midnight, was rushed to a veterinarian by his handler, Deputy A.J. Davis. K-9 Endo, who was shot in the paw and the chin in the second shooting around 2:20 a.m., was rushed to another vet clinic by his handler, Deputy Brett Whitson. There were no other injuries in the incident.
“There is no doubt that K-9 Ax and K-9 Endo took bullets that were meant for my deputies,” Sheriff Chitwood said in a media briefing Saturday afternoon, praising the bravery of the dogs that had to be pulled away from the suspect even after they were shot. “If the deputies would have gone into the woods, the first person to come in contact with Singleton, without a doubt, would have been shot.”
The carjacking was reported around 11:30 p.m. by a Lyft driver who said he picked up a passenger in Sanford and drove him to his requested location, a remote stretch of Reed Ellis Road in the Osteen area. The Lyft driver said the suspect held a gun to his head and forced him to get out of his white Kia Sedona minivan before stealing it. About 15 minutes later, the stranded victim, whose phone was also stolen in the carjacking, flagged down a passing vehicle for help.
The stolen minivan was entered into the License Plate Reader hotlist and later spotted on Lake Helen Osteen Road. Shortly after that, the suspect parked and bailed out at Deltona Gardens Apartments and went into a wooded area to hide. Air One spotted him from overhead. About 10 minutes after the bailout, as Deputy Davis and K-9 Ax were approaching the suspect, shots rang out and Ax came out of the brush with a gunshot wound to his face. The suspect went deeper into the woods.
Multiple agencies arrived to assist, and the VSO SWAT team responded with the agency’s Bearcat armored vehicle. Drone operators from the VSO Aerial Response Team also arrived on scene to provide another aerial view along with Alert One, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office helicopter that often relieves Air One to allow refueling. After about an hour and a half, the suspect was seen coming out of the wood line. Deputies moved in and exchanged gunfire with the suspect, striking him multiple times. K-9 Endo was shot during the exchange and rushed from the scene for treatment as additional units moved in to treat Singleton’s wounds. He was transported to Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford with life-threatening injuries.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement also responded to the scene and will be handling the investigation of the shooting. Four deputies and one DeLand police officer fired their weapons. The deputies will be temporarily placed on paid administrative leave, per standard practice following a deputy-involved shooting.
While the criminal investigation is ongoing, Singleton faces charges including armed carjacking and use of a deadly weapon against a police K-9.
Ax was treated at Animal Emergency Hospital Volusia in Ormond Beach, where the Daytona Beach Police Department sent its own K-9s to donate blood for him. Endo was treated at Veterinary Emergency Center of East Volusia in South Daytona.
Endo is a previous recipient of the VSO Medal of Valor and Purple Heart after he was shot in the neck while responding to a domestic violence call on Nov. 4, 2015.