Man shot after pointing rifle at Sarasota County Sheriff deputies

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SARASOTA, FL. - The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a Land O’ Lakes man, who was shot by deputies when he aimed a rifle at them and refused to put the weapon down.

According to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, at around 2 am, deputies tried to stop 49-year-old Lawrence John Gudmestad when they tried to stop a red Chrysler convertible for speeding. He initially pulled over, but drove off again. Deputies did not continue the pursuit and later located the car at the registered owner’s address on the 3500 block of Aloha Way. They searched the home and Gudmestad was found in the bathroom shower hiding a rifle behind the shower curtain. Deputies retreated from the home and took position outside.

At around 3:30 a.m., Gudmestad exited the home armed with the 22-caliber rifle and refused commands to drop the weapon. When he took aim at Sgt. Mark Tuls and Dep. Josh Gnesin they fired, hitting the suspect in the shoulder.

Gudmestad was being treated at Sarasota Memorial Hospital for minor injuries and released. He was then booked into the Sarasota County Jail on two counts of Aggravated Assault with a Firearm on a Law Enforcement Officer, one count of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and one count of Aggravated Fleeing to Elude.

Gudmestad has a violent criminal history with arrests in several Florida counties as well as in Michigan and New Jersey. In Florida Gudmestad has 36 felony charges, 15 felony convictions and he was sentenced to prison five times. His crimes include aggravated assault, battery, robbery, drugs and weapons charges.

The sergeant and deputy are on routine paid administrative leave until the shooting investigation is complete.