LEE COUNTY, Fla. - We're learning more about the man shot and killed by deputies Friday morning. The Lee County Sheriff's Office says when 21-year-old Joseph Blake Powell shot at them, deputies shot back. A lifelong friend tells WINK News, despite Powell's run-ins with the law, he was a genuine person. "He was a good friend, he was loyal, he was honest, he was loving, he was caring," Kyle Purdy said. "He loved his family. He loved his little brother."
Purdy doesn't know what motivated Powell to pull out a gun. He's just asking that people pray for Powell's family."Everyone at 21 or 22 years old goes to bars at some point, but I think unfortunately, he was definitely not in the right place at the wrong time," Purdy said.
Early Friday morning, after Cadillac Jack's on South Tamiami Trail closed, fights broke out in the parking lot. The owner, Eric Lesback, says the night had been peaceful up until that point. "It's nothing that happened inside the establishment," Lesback said.
Soon after, deputies responded to reports of gunfire, stopping the possible suspects a short distance down U.S. 41. The Sheriff's Office says Joseph Powell jumped out, ran into a nearby R.V. resort and started shooting.
"The passenger gets out, starts firing rounds, and he's dead," Sheriff Mike Scott said. "There's a moral to that story. The moral is, don't point a gun at a deputy sheriff. Don't point a gun at anyone for that matter."
Friday night brought a slightly more subdued atmosphere at Cadillac Jack's as patrons arrived for Country Night. "It's scary but there's bad apples everywhere," Crystal Hollingsworth said.
"I think you're just as safe here as anywhere else and I'm hoping devoutly that everyone else feels the same way an continues to come here," Heather Remillard said. "It's a wonderful crowd here."
The owner of Cadillac Jack's says while their security did all they could to diffuse the altercation, once they were closed, the parking lot was the jurisdiction of the Sheriff's Office. He says the gun was seen being taken out of a car glovebox and was never inside the building.
The deputies involved are on modified duty during the investigation.