A suspect is in custody after shooting at police and barricading in a Fort Myers McDonald’s where he hid for about two hours on Saturday afternoon.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said the suspect, who has been identified as 41-year-old Marlon Illescas, was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries.
Illescas is facing seven counts of aggravated assault on an officer as well as other charges related to the standoff. Bond has been set at $475,000.
“We meet deadly force with deadly force in this county,” Marceno said after the Illescas was detained.
After a loud pop and a flash, smoke appeared. When the smoke cleared, law enforcement emerged with the suspect in custody. “Today we used less than lethal and we gassed him out so he cooperated,” Marceno said. “Obviously, our SWAT team deployed the OC gas and obviously, you know, he wasn’t going to breathe much longer inside there. He comes out and we take him to custody without incident.”
Marceno said the incident began at around 11 a.m. when Fort Myers police officers encountered the armed individual who shot at police officers.
Marceno did not say whether anyone was injured. Marceno said the action of law enforcement prevented a mass shooting. For hours, LCSO, The Fort Myers Police Department and the SWAT team did what they could to keep an active shooter behind a door and away from the crowds watching outside.
“We are working… using every technology piece that we have. Both teams as you can see here FMPD and LCSO. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure this is peacefully resolved,” said Sheriff Marceno.
The suspect then fled into the restaurant at 4280 Palm Beach Boulevard.
Marceno said the police and deputies got all of the employees out safely. “FMPD and the Lee County Sheriff’s office went in, were able to get all the employees out for safety,” Marceno said.
WINK News Safety and Security Specialist Rich Kolko says law enforcement wanted everyone out in a timely manner. “They want to make sure everyone comes home safely, But of course, they’re going to work diligently to get anybody in harm’s way out of there as quick as possible while the negotiations continue,” said Kolko.
Investigators went one by one, getting statements from every single employee at that McDonald’s. Some of those statements were taken inside deputy cars. Other people were on their phones, speaking with their loved ones.
Melissa Gomez and her husband were having breakfast at this McDonald’s location. She says it started as a calm morning but as they were leaving, chaos ensued.
“I left here maybe at 10:45 at 11 o’clock this happened. It was just random and fast,” said Gomez.
“When we came back into the area, we saw the police and we had to take backroads to get to my apartment,” Gomez said. “We saw the helicopter going up and I was like they’re looking for somebody.”
“The scene is very, very active,” Marceno said at the time. “That encounter ended up with that suspect firing at FMPD and Lee County Sheriff’s Office.”
“We want to make this a peaceful resolution,” Marceno said.
“We’re still alive and nothing happened to my husband and I,” Gomez said.
Palm Beach Boulevard was shut down at approximately noon to traffic at Marsh Avenue as authorities try to coerce Illescas out. It has since reopened. Helicopters were also circling to look for Illescas.
Watch the press conference at the scene in the video player below or click on the link.
Palm Beach Boulevard is shut down East and Westbound at Marsh Avenue for a heavy police presence. Please avoid the area in a vehicle or on foot. pic.twitter.com/770HKTzglN
— Fort Myers Police (@fortmyerspolice) October 23, 2021