BONIFAY - The suspect shot by Holmes County deputies after an escalated domestic incident in Westville on Wednesday will face multiple charges - if he recovers from his critical injuries.
Holmes County Sheriff John Tate hosted a press conference Thursday morning, releasing the name of the victim and relaying details of the altercation.
Sheriff Tate states deputies responded to 1050 Rum Road shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday after a 911 call from a neighbor's home advised that William Andrew "Scrub" Brewer, 50, had gotten into a domestic dispute with his mother and was behaving aggressively.
When deputies responded to Brewer's home, he barricaded himself inside the residence. Deputies then attempted to communicate with Brewer through the door, and he threw what officials believe to be a "molotov cocktail" at two exterior doors, presumably to deter deputies from making entry.
"We aren't sure exactly what it was, but it was a fire ball of some kind," Tate said. "The house caught on fire, and smoke was visible. He knocked out a window and fired at deputies, at which time deputies returned fire."
Tate says that through the smoke and chaos, deputies were able to communicate with Brewer and learn that he had been hit.
Brewer was struck by bullets in his arm, leg, torso, and shoulder and was airlifted to Southeast Alabama Medical Center, where he remains in critical condition.
Tate says he has been in contact with the victim's mother, who is "understandably upset."
"She's like any other mom," he said. "She is worried about her son, and she also doesn't have anywhere to live, as the fire made her home unlivable."
Three deputies involved in the incident are on paid administrative leave, as is standard HCSO protocol, and will be required to undergo evaluations before returning to duty.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement has already begun an investigation into the shooting at the request of Sheriff Tate. That investigation, which will include a review of the deputies' body cameras, could take several months to complete.
Meanwhile, Tate says his foremost concern during any incident is the safety of not only his deputies, but for suspects as well.
"Sometimes, things happen that are out of our control, and we have to react," he said. "At the end of the day, we all have families, and we all want to go home to those families."
If Brewer makes a recovery, he faces multiple charges, including aggravated assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer, arson, and domestic violence charges.
Brewer has a previous criminal record, which includes firearms and stalking.