Grand jury clears ACSO deputy in Newberry shooting

An Alachua County grand jury cleared an Alachua County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) deputy who shot and killed Barry Heckard following an attempted traffic stop in Newberry on Sept. 23, 2021.

According to a release sent from the office of 8th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Brian Kramer late Wednesday, an ACSO deputy was cleared for using deadly force against Heckard, 39, of Gainesville, and that the deputy acted in lawful self-defense of himself and other citizens present. 

Barry P. Heckard of Gainesville
Barry P. Heckard of Gainesville

The incident occurred last September when deputies observed what they thought was a drunk driver on State Road 45 just south of Newberry. When they attempted to stop Heckard, he fled. Deputies initiated a PIT maneuver (pursuit intervention technique) to stop Heckard, who then fired multiple shots at the deputies. One deputy returned fire and killed Heckard. 

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement handled the investigation and Judge Philip Pena received the grand jury findings. 

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