PANAMA CITY-- At around 6 p.m. Friday, local law enforcement caught two men in downtown Panama City who are believed to have shot a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer.
According to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, the two suspects have been identified as Lachlan Fain Akins, 20, and Samuel Wyndham Reager, 18.
Reager was wanted out of Michigan on drug related charges.
Police caught Reager with the gun they think was used to shoot FWC Officer David Brady.
During the confrontation, Officer Brady and the suspects exchanged gunfire. Officer Brady was hit twice. He was later taken to the hospital where he was released with non-life threatening injuries.
Reager suffered a gunshot wound to his hand in the shootout and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
While there is no confirmed motive, authorities believe Reager didn’t want to go to jail.
Akins was arrested on July 28 on a disorderly conduct charge in Bay County. According to Bay County Sheriff, Frank McKeithen, the sheriff’s office will be working on the attempted murder of Officer Brady with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
McKeithen said it was “picture perfect” work of what law enforcement officers should be doing.
"This is just a reminder of the fact these guys every day they go out and confront something like this every day,” McKeithen said. “Every one of them up here and this can happen in Panama City. People think it can't, but it can."
One of the reasons law enforcement agencies were able to catch the suspects so quickly was due to the help of locals in the area.
Corey and Jennifer Gardner saw the officer’s boat going past their condominium complex very fast and said they knew something was wrong.
From their balcony they said they saw the FWC boat hit a sand bar. They saw the two suspects jump overboard and rain the direction of their building. The Gardners ran downstairs where they later told police what they saw and helped police identify the suspects.
"The people who jumped off didn't have shirts on,” Jennifer Gardner said. “And they looked young so I thought maybe it was children had stolen the boat."
"Once we found out they had shot a Florida Wildlife Officer, I was really glad that we didn’t get down there in time and also get shot,” Corey Gardner said. “But I was definitely very happy to help in any way I could so they could detain him and I'm glad it happened before nighttime."
Sheriff McKeithen stressed how pleased and relieved he was that the suspects were caught, not leaving residents in The Cove neighborhood worrying throughout the night.
He said he was also extremely pleased that Officer Brady was able to leave the hospital and go home to his family.