Deputy Sheriff Wayne J. Koester

Deputy Sheriff Wayne J. Koester

Lake County Sheriff's Office, Florida

End of Watch Wednesday, February 9, 2005

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Wayne J. Koester

Deputy Sheriff Wayne Koester and two other deputies were shot while responding to a domestic violence call at a home on Hilda Avenue in the Ocala National Forest.

The three deputies had made contact with the female subject at a neighbor's home. The deputies searched for the male subject at the couple's home but did not locate him. As they returned the female subject to the home, the man ambushed them from the woods with a shotgun loaded with slugs. He exchanged shots with the deputies, wounding all three. Deputy Koester was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.

The man fled the scene on a motorcycle but was apprehended later in the day following a massive manhunt and a second shootout. When the suspect was apprehended, it was discovered that he suffered gunshot wounds from one of the shootouts.

He was convicted of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, and two counts of aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer. He was subsequently sentenced to death.

Deputy Koester had served with the Lake County Sheriff's Office for only nine months and had previously served with the Umatilla Police Department for eight years. He is survived by his wife and four children.


  • Age 33
  • Tour 9 years
  • Badge 1426

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Sentenced to death

ambush, domestic

Most Recent Reflection

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Wayne, I think about you often. Your gravesite is just behind my Mom and Dad’s at Lakeside Memory. I visit your site as well and say a prayer for you. You were an awesome guy, good friend and great cop.

Sergeant Phil Levingston
Eustis PD

October 13, 2023

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