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New details released in officer-involved shooting in Panama City

Law enforcement responded to a reported shooting near the Bay County Government Center Thursday...
Law enforcement responded to a reported shooting near the Bay County Government Center Thursday evening.(WJHG/WECP)
Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 5:48 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - We’re learning more about the officer-involved shooting in Panama City Thursday evening.

Multiple agencies responded to the area of the Bay County Government Center on 11th Street around 5 p.m. Bay County Sheriff’s Officials say Investigator Dakota Merritt confronted Michael Barrett, 38, of Springfield, when following up on a case. Officials say Barrett and Merritt struggled, and at one point Barrett grabbed Merritt’s gun.

Investigators say Barrett hit Merritt in the face with the gun and tried to shoot the deputy, but the deputy was able to hold the slide mechanism on the gun, preventing it from firing.

They say Merritt was able to get the gun back and shot Barrett. Barrett was taken to the hospital in critical condition but is reported to be stable.

Merritt was also taken to the hospital and treated for his injuries. Officials say he was later released and is recovering. Merritt has been placed on administrative leave, a standard procedure after incidents like this. He has been at the Bay County Sheriff’s Office for two and a half years.

Investigators believe Barrett took about $5,000 worth of valuables from a home in Callaway. Merritt was following up on that grand theft case when the fight broke out.

Barrett is now charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery charges.

Michael Barrett of Springfield has been charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery.
Michael Barrett of Springfield has been charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery.(Bay County Sheriff's Office)

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