SARASOTA, Fla.- The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has arrested 49-year-old Lawrence John Gudmestad, of Land O’ Lakes, who was shot by deputies when he aimed a rifle at them and refused to put the weapon down.
Deputies first encountered Gudmestad just after 2:00 a.m., 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, 3500 Aloha Way.
Around 3:30 a.m., Gudmestad exited the home armed with a 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 is being treated at Sarasota Memorial Hospital for non-life threatening injuries and is expected to be released soon.
He will be 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.