FDLE Investigation Completes Shoot-out Investigation

By: Jeremy Pate
By: Jeremy Pate

Nearly six weeks after the incident, the public is now getting a clearer picture of a police shoot-out in Holmes County.

A Bonifay man, with a history of mental illness, was killed in the shooting, but who actually killed him was a mystery until today. All of the officers involved have now been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Dwight McWaters opens fired on Bonifay Police Officer Steven Lee, when Lee attempted to arrest McWaters at his home at 706 West Banfill Avenue. Lee returned fire, but was shot at least three times while trying to get in his car.

McWaters ran into his home and a shootout ensued as officers from the Bonifay Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol, and Holmes and Washington County Sheriff's Offices responded to help Officer Lee.

McWaters was shot sometime during the standoff with police. The two-hour standoff ended when a SWAT team stormed the home and found McWaters lying on his back, with a gun in his hand. McWaters was captured and taken to a Dothan hospital, where he died a couple of days later.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement launched an investigation. That investigation, released Wednesday, cleared all officers involved of any wrongdoing.

State Attorney Jim Appleman says the officers’ actions were justified under state guidelines for using deadly force. The report also showed no one from either SWAT team fired a shot at McWaters while inside the home. That means McWaters was either injured during the initial shootout with police, or he shot himself.


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