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Gun Range: Probably the Worst Place to Execute an Arrest Warrant

That's video from the scene of the worst police shooting in Florida this year. Now the governor-appointed Okaloosa County sheriff, Edward Spooner, is trying to defend his department's decision to arrest a wife-beating weapons expert at a gun range.

In an incident that appeared entirely avoidable, two deputies were killed before the suspect was shot to death. Let's take a look at an article just posted in the Northwest Florida Daily News:

Joshua Cartwright had had a few hours to cool off and wasn't anywhere near his wife. When the deputies arrived at the clay range about 12:48 p.m., 28-year-old Cartwright was standing by his truck and there was no weapon in sight.

"We didn't have anything to allude it would escalate to this," said Spooner, adding he had recently been at the same range.

"A gun range is no different from anywhere else. There are a lot of good, honest citizens that go there. The fact is it didn't affect a lot of the decision in how we approached him."

What?!? Unless the guy's beating his wife at the gun range, best to advise one's deputies to approach at a time when the suspect hasn't just finished some target practice.

This might be the state's most crooked law enforcement agency. Its elected sheriff, Charlie Morris, was busted for corruption, which led Charlie Crist to replace him with Spooner. In an editorial, the newspaper asks whether Morris' handing out of "performance bonuses" soaked up funds that would otherwise have been used for training. But, come on. You don't need training for common sense. This one's squarely on Spooner, and the Crist administration had better be ready to back up its decision to put this guy in charge.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has opened an investigation.

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Thomas Francis

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