Bill Strudel was attacked by a group of individuals this week as he was driving his vehicle. The gang surrounded his SUV and demanded he turn it over to them.
But this retired 67-year-old Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office sergeant had something else in mind. Thankfully, he always carries the same firearm he was issued by his former station, a common practice for cops who retire after years with the agency.
At first, Strudel tried to swat a gun out of the young thug’s hand. That didn’t work and Strudel was hit in the head with the firearm, which broke his glasses and cracked his head. But Strudel reached for his own gun… and nailed him… in the butt!
Strudel, deputy police chief at the University of North Florida, shot the armed 15-year-old in the buttocks during the attempt to steal Strudel’s sport-utility vehicle, the Sheriff’s Office said. The attack occurred about 9 p.m. in the 10600 block of Lem Turner Road while Strudel, who was off-duty and out running errands, had stopped at a free-standing ice machine to buy ice, police said.
Strudel needed numerous stitches to close his head wound, said UNF Police Chief Frank Mackesy, a long-time personal and professional friend who took Strudel to the hospital.
“He took a pretty significant blow to the head,” Mackesy said of the 67-year-old. “He was definitely shaken up.”
Mackesy credited Strudel’s expertise as a firearms instructor with the Sheriff’s Office and UNF police with helping to ensure his injuries weren’t worse. Strudel joined the UNF police department in 2005 after 25 years with the Sheriff’s Office.
“The suspect messed with the wrong guy,” Mackesy said. “He was responding in a way he was trained to respond. If it had been anybody else out there, I don’t know how this would have turned out.”
Despite his injuries, Strudel took the time to pray with passersby who stopped at the scene to offer help. Mackesy explained that is exactly what he would expect from Strudel.
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