Off-duty deputy shoots ax-wielding home intruder in Florida

APOPKA, Fla. (WESH/CNN) - An off-duty Florida deputy shot a man multiple times after he allegedly used an ax to break down her back door following a rampage through her neighborhood.

Steven Thayer, 40, was arrested Tuesday evening and taken to the hospital after he allegedly went on a disturbing tear through a neighborhood in Apopka, Fla. The incident ended with Thayer being shot multiple times.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office says Thayer used an ax to break through the door of an off-duty deputy’s home. The deputy was at home with her three children and feared for all their lives. She shot Thayer multiple times, but he still got in.

Steven Thayer, 40, faces various charges, including aggravated assault and armed burglary, after he allegedly broke into multiple homes in an Apopka, Florida, neighborhood.
Steven Thayer, 40, faces various charges, including aggravated assault and armed burglary, after he allegedly broke into multiple homes in an Apopka, Florida, neighborhood. (Source: Orange County Sheriff's Office/WESH/Hearst/CNN)

The deputy struggled with Thayer and was able to handcuff him on the floor of her home before more deputies arrived at the scene.

“Based on everything that I saw, I’m very satisfied with her performance. I think she did a great job. She protected herself and protected her kids,” Sheriff John Mina said.

Neighbors say Thayer broke into one other home and a car before his arrest. He also allegedly attempted to break into several other homes.

The suspect in the armed burglary of our Deputy's home is 40-year-old Steven William Thayer. He faces charges of...

Posted by Orange County Sheriff's Office, Florida on Wednesday, February 26, 2020

One resident, who only wanted to be identified as John, says Thayer entered his house, yelling about having been chased there.

“I’m like, ‘Well, I don’t want that here... Get out of my house. You don’t belong in my house.’ So, I drug him through the back, got him over the balcony,” John said. “He definitely wound up at the right house. We got lucky there. Thank God she’s [the deputy] done what she did.”

Thayer reportedly found the ax in a backyard. He was treated and released from the hospital before he was booked at the Orange County Jail on aggravated assault, armed burglary and other charges.

Copyright 2020 WESH, Hearst, Orange County Sheriff’s Office via CNN. All rights reserved. Gray Media, Inc., contributed to this report.