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“It is a little scary, a little shocking”: Suspect killed in deputy involved Newberry shooting previously accused of grand theft

Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 11:32 PM EDT
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NEWBERRY, Fla. (WCJB) - A shootout nearby several Newberry residents that involved Alachua County Sheriff’s Deputies raised some concerns but one resident said she’s grateful deputies were there. Barry Heckard, 39, was driving erratically when ASO deputies attempted to pull him over. He fired a rifle at them several times and deputies shot back and killed him. Heckard has been in ASO custody before after facing grand theft charges.

Around 8:30 p.m. Thursday night Christina LaBree was relaxing.

“I was just sitting at home watching TV hanging out with the family,” LaBree said.

Related story: UPDATE: Alachua County Sheriff’s Deputies shoot and kill armed suspect in Newberry after he shoots at at them

But just up the road, Heckard was in a shootout with ASO deputies.

“It is a little scary, a little shocking,” LaBree said.  “You don’t hear anything like that happening in Newberry. It’s small, nothing like that happens. Newberry seems pretty safe. I mean I guess you always have a couple of individuals in every town even small towns where you have just that one person that does something stupid.”

LaBree said she and her family have been living near the area for about five years now and have never been too concerned for their safety. She said she applauds deputies for stepping in and making sure everybody in the area was safe.

“With the rifle that he was shooting, there were many residents and many business folks that were at businesses or business owners that were taking cover because of the shootout,” Public Information Officer Art Forgey said.

Heckard was in trouble with the law before. He owned “Heckard’s Door” custom door business where he is accused of swindling at least a dozen people out of thousands in St. Johns County by receiving deposits and never finishing the job.

“The original charge was for felony stealing,” Forgey explained.

He was in ASO custody in June after violating his probation.

The deputies involved in the shooting are on administrative leave.

FDLE is handling the investigation.

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