MURDER USA: Florida Deputy and patrons fired on by shooter at Paradise Bar in another ambush on a cop

Florida Marion County Sheriff Deputy Spratlin and bar patrons shot at by gunman on April 22, 2018

MURDER USA: Florida Deputy and patrons fired on by a shooter at Paradise Bar in another ambush on a cop

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods


According to Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods, after an emotional week of sacrifice and heroism by law enforcement in North Central Florida, a Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) deputy was violently attacked while he was working a call for service at the Paradise Bar and Lounge located at 13007 North US Highway 441 in Citra. At approximately 2:00 a.m., on Sunday, April 22, 2018, MCSO Deputy Joseph Spratlin and multiple other bystanders were shot at by unknown suspect(s) multiple times while Deputy Spratlin was attempting to disperse a crowd at the bar. MCSO Major Crimes detectives are asking for the public’s help in finding those who committed this heinous act upon one of our deputies and the civilians involved.


While he was attempting to disperse the crowd that congregated at Paradise Bar and Lounge, unknown person(s) fired numerous rounds towards Deputy Spratlin and several other civilians near him. Deputy Spratlin took cover to avoid being hit by the gunfire and his patrol vehicle was struck by one of the bullets. Numerous deputies responded to assist, but by the time they arrived on the scene, the bystanders had dispersed. At this time, no one has reported injuries as a result of the shooting.

Deputy Spratlin was unable to return fire towards the suspect(s) because he was focused on getting bystanders to safe shelter. Detectives are working to identity eye-witnesses/victims so they can obtain statements from them to further our investigation.

A bullet hole in the side of patrol car of Marion County Deputy on April 22, 2018, near Ocala, Florida
Close up of the bullet hole in the door of Marion County Fla patrol car April 22, 2018.

“Enough is enough,” said Sheriff Billy Woods. “A law enforcement officer’s worst fear came true in Gilchrist County last week, and I can tell you that all of my people are on edge. The shooting early this morning hits us right here at home and this type of senseless violence has got to stop. Every single day, all of us in law enforcement, whether we wear green, blue or black and tan uniforms, leave our families to serve and protect you, our citizens. I implore you to at least help us protect you from those who commit crimes like this. Whoever committed this crime last night is a danger to us all. Someone needs to do the right thing and turn that person, or persons, in TODAY.”


If you have any information on this case or if you were there this morning, you’re encouraged to call Sgt. Donald Buie at 352- 368-3538 or call the Marion County Crime Stoppers at 352-368-STOP or 352-368-7867. Tips can also be submitted at For Crime Stoppers, please reference 18-29 in your tip. Also, if you use Crime Stoppers and your tip leads to an arrest, you may be eligible for a CASH REWARD.


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