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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Gainesville man dies in Newberry shootout with Alachua County Sheriff deputies

Barry Heckard fled in his car when deputies attempted to pull him over for reckless driving


A Gainesville man died from gunshot wounds Thursday night after shooting at deputies who returned fire. 

Barry Heckard, a 39-year-old Gainesville resident, shot the first shot at deputies on State Road 45 and at least one deputy returned fire — resulting in a fatal shot that caused Heckard’s death, ACSO spokespeople Kaley Behl and Art Forgey said.  

No deputies were injured, Behl said, and the pursuit ended at the intersection of State Road 45 and Newberry Road. 

 Before the incident, Heckard was driving a white van north of State Road 45 recklessly and fled in his car as Alachua County Sheriff deputies attempted to pull him over, the news release read. According to the release, the driver was recklessly driving, similar to an impaired driver. 

Heckard has been booked at Alachua County Jail four times since October 2018 on different charges, Forgey said. He was charged with aggravated assault, possession of marijuana and possession of drug equipment in 2018; he had a warrant out for grand theft in 2019; and in 2020, he was charged with contractor fraud. Most recently,he was in violation of probation for grand theft in June. 

Deputies chased Heckard and performed a Precision Immobilization Technique, a push technique used to stop a moving vehicle, Behl said. 

“You're pretty close up on somebody if you're doing that,” Behl said. “You're making contact with a vehicle and you're right up your front quarter panels on their rear quarter panel.”

The intersection, which was previously barricaded throughout the night, opened at 6:30 Friday morning, Behl said. 

Until the investigation is complete, all deputies involved will be put on paid administrative leave, the news report read. Forgey said this is routine practice, giving deputies time to heal physically and mentally and which allows investigators to decide whether the use of force was justified.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

Contact Isabella Douglas at Follow her on Twitter @Ad_Scribendum

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Isabella Douglas

Isabella Douglas is a fourth-year journalism major and the Fall 2023 editor-in-chief for The Alligator. She has previously worked as the digital managing editor, metro editor, criminal justice reporter and as a news assistant. When she isn't reporting, she can be found reorganizing her bookshelf and adding books to her ever-growing TBR. 

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