MENU
component-ddb-728x90-v1-01-desktop

IRCSO: 1 innocent woman killed, 1 deputy injured in "career criminals" firefight with SWAT

In a press conference, Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar described the shooting as "ambush style" and with intent to harm officers.

One innocent woman was killed and a deputy was shot Sunday morning during the attempted execution of a search warrant in Gifford, Florida.

At 5:45 a.m. the IRC S.W.A.T team arrived at a "known drug house" at 4545 35th Avenue to issue a search warrant looking for narcotics.

According to the Sheriff's Office, 38-year-old Andrew Coffee III had walked out of the house, saw law enforcement then fought deputies as they took him into custody.

S.W.A.T. broke a bedroom window when 23-year-old Andrew Coffee IV shot from inside the home aimed at the deputies.

In a press conference, Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar described the shooting as "ambush style" and with intent to harm officers. Authorities say S.W.A.T. team deputy Kelsey Zorc was injured during the exchange of shots when a bullet grazed her right shoulder.

Three deputies fired back in what Sheriff Loar called a firefight.

One woman identified as 21-year-old Alteria Woods - who deputies say was an innocent person in the home at the time - was caught in the crossfire and killed.

"Andrew Coffee IV was cowardly using (Woods) as protection," said Sheriff Loar. "Our thoughts and prayers go to her family."

Deputy Zorc was taken to Indian River Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries and later released.

"A bulletproof vest saved her life.. no doubt about it," said Sheriff Loar. Deputy Zorc is the first female S.W.A.T. team member in the history of the Indian River County Sheriff's Office.

Once inside, IRCS deputies discovered drugs including cocaine, pills, crack cocaine and more. They also discovered an assortment of firearms.

Deputies state that five people inside the home were arrested, including Coffee III and his son, Andrew Coffee IV. Sheriff Loar called the group "career criminals."

Andrew Coffee III and Andrew Coffee IV have been formally charged with attempted murder on a law enforcement officer. "Both are no strangers to the Indian River County Sheriff's Office," said Sheriff Loar.

The Sheriff's Office says the Coffee family has had a long history of violence against law enforcement. In December 2015, Deputy Chris Lester was shot by Andrew Coffee II, a "career criminal" who is still being held at the IRC jail.

Coffee III has been arrested more than 57 times, and his son, Coffee IV has been arrested more than 36 times. Both will be in first appearance at the Indian River County Jail on Monday morning.

The execution of the search warrant at the home was part of the Sheriff's Office's new initiative - Operation Safe Streets. This new program was established in February 2017 after the shooting death of Deputy Garry Chambliss in Gifford.

Since the start of the initiative, the Sheriff's Office has arrested 16 people, seized crack cocaine that was being trafficked in the area along with two weapons.

"We are determined to curb the crime and the nastiness that's going on in the streets of Gifford," said Sheriff Loar on the Operation Safe Streets initiative.

Authorities are not releasing the name of the deputies who responded with gunfire. Officials say the three deputies who fired their weapons have been placed on paid administrative leave while the Sheriff's Office continues its investigation.

Watch the Indian River Co. Press Conference in full:


A group gathered just after 5 p.m. at the scene of the shootings with signs reading "no justice, no peace."


Trending

LOADING