Lieutenant Justin Bedwell succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained two days earlier following a vehicle pursuit of two brothers that started in neighboring Seminole County.
The pursuit started when Seminole County deputies attempted to conduct a traffic stop of a pickup truck for reckless driving. The vehicle fled and the occupants opened fire on the deputies, who pursued them into Decatur County. The vehicle stopped in the driveway of a residence near the intersection of U.S. Highway 84 and State Road 310 and the occupants attempted to force entry into the home by shooting through the door.
The homeowner returned fire, prompting the subjects to abandon their attempt to enter the home. As Lieutenant Bedwell arrived in the area one of the subjects opened fire on his patrol car with a .30 caliber rifle, striking him in the chest. A second deputy suffered minor injuries. One subject was arrested at the scene. The second subject, armed with the rifle and wearing a bulletproof vest, was arrested 12 hours later following a manhunt in the area.
Lieutenant Bedwell was flown to a hospital in Tallahassee, Florida, where he succumbed to his wounds while undergoing emergency surgery on March 1st, 2021.
Lieutenant Bedwell had served with the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office for 20 years.