Only a few pieces of crime scene tape and leftover blockades remain near the main intersection in Newberry Friday morning as a reminder that a Gainesville man was shot and killed Thursday night.
The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) identified the driver of the van, who fled from deputies during a traffic stop attempt, as Barry P. Heckard, 39, of Gainesville.
Heckard was pronounced dead at the scene. According to police reports and security footage from a store viewed by Mainstreet Daily News, the PIT maneuver (pursuit intervention technique) occurred in the intersection of Newberry Road and State Road 45.
The incident started at 8:30 p.m. when deputies observed a white van traveling north on State Road 45 heading toward Newberry.
“The vehicle was being operated in a dangerous and erratic driving manner consistent with an impaired driver,” the ACSO report states.
Deputies tried to stop the vehicle, but the driver fled.
Deputies then engaged in the PIT maneuver in an attempt to stop the vehicle and the suspect shot at deputies, who then returned fire, according to the ACSO’s report.
The intersection was blocked off to traffic for more than five hours and vehicles were diverted to side roads throughout Newberry as the scene was investigated.
Employees at Newberry Pizza said they heard multiple gunshots and took cover behind a car. Customers in the local hotel and gas station adjacent to the crime scene took cover on the south side of the building.
Heckard’s ex-wife was in tears as she watched from the parking lot at Villaggio’s Pizzeria just a block from the scene. She expressed concern for the couple’s teenage son.
“The incident ended at the intersection and Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is investigating the incident,” the ACSO reported.
Alachua County Fire Rescue, Florida Highway Patrol and the special teams from the ACSO responded to the incident to secure the area.
“Deputies involved in the incident will be placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation,” ACSO said.