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Drug suspect fires at Polk officers, killed during shootout

A Winter Haven man suspected of dealing methamphetamines died Thursday after an exchange of gunfire with members of a multiagency drug task force during a traffic stop, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.

Francis Perry, 32, died from his wounds at a Lakeland hospital, hours after he was pulled over just after 5 p.m. Wednesday.

An active felony warrant had been issued for Perry.

According to Judd, Perry refused to roll down his dark-tinted car windows, so a detective finally smashed a passenger window. That's when Perry fired a handgun at the four detectives, who fired back at least 28 total rounds.

The detectives performed CPR until medics arrived and took Perry to the hospital.

"The message is very clear," Judd told reporters. "Don't point your guns and shoot at law enforcement officers if you don't want to be shot."

Judd said the detectives found thousands of dollars worth of meth in the car.

According to records, Perry was arrested 20 times in as many years, starting with a shoplifting charge when he was 10. He served three stints in prison and was a self-declared white supremacist. In March, he was given conditional release from prison after being sentenced for possession of meth and aggravated assault.

The detectives were not hurt. They were placed on paid administrative leave during investigations into the shooting.

The task force is made up of detectives from the Polk sheriff's office, and the Lakes Wales, Haines City and Winter Haven police departments.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.