Woman Dead, Father and Son Arrested in Florida ‘Drug House' Shooting

A man and his son are in custody after a shootout with authorities serving a search warrant in a suspected central Florida "drug house" left a woman dead, officials said Monday.

Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar described Andrew Coffee III, 37, and his son, Andrew Coffee 23, as "career criminals" who are "no strangers" to the law enforcement community in Gifford, which is near Vero Beach on Florida's Atlantic Coast.

They were arrested Sunday and face multiple charges. A judge set bond on Monday at $307,000 for the younger Coffee and $102,000 for his father.

Loar said at a news conference that - as a SWAT team approached the home at 5:45 a.m. Sunday - Andrew Coffee III tried to run. While he created what the sheriff described as a "ruckus" with deputies, his son started firing rounds at deputies from a bedroom window that deputies had broken in an attempt to enter the home.

Deputies returned fire, killing Alteria Woods, 21, who was lying on a bed in the room with the younger Coffee. "He was cowardly using her as protection," Loar said. He added the younger Coffee fired "no less than four rounds."

During Sunday's shootout, SWAT team Deputy Kelsey Zorc was grazed by a bullet on her right shoulder, the sheriff said. She was treated and released from a hospital on Sunday.

According to Loar, the elder Coffee has more than 57 arrests while his son has been arrested more than 36 times. In addition, Andrew Coffee III's father - Andrew Coffee Jr., 54 - has been in jail since December 2015 for attempting to kill a sheriff's deputy.

In a news release, investigators said "the Coffee family has a history of violence against law enforcement."

Loar added that during a traffic stop less than two weeks ago, the younger Coffee told deputies, "I'm going to finish what my grandfather tried to do."

The sheriff described the drug problem in Gifford, near Vero Beach on Florida's Atlantic Coast, as "an ongoing problem." Undercover work led investigators to serve a search warrant for the Coffee home on Sunday.

Inside the Coffee home, investigators allegedly found drugs, including pain pills, crack cocaine and powdered cocaine, along with a stash of firearms.

Loar said the agency's thoughts and prayers are with the Woods family.

"It's a sad day when a 21-year-old loses her life," he said, blaming the "tragic incident" on the younger Coffee.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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