Deputy Sheriff Vernon Matthew Williams

Deputy Sheriff Vernon Matthew Williams

Polk County Sheriff's Office, Florida

End of Watch Thursday, September 28, 2006

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Vernon Matthew Williams

Deputy Sheriff Matt Williams and his K9 partner, Diogi, were shot and killed while pursuing a suspect who had fled on foot during a traffic stop.

Another deputy had stopped the vehicle for a traffic violation, and the suspect fled on foot into an adjacent wooded area.

Deputy Williams and K9 Diogi arrived moments later and began searching for the suspect with the other deputy. The suspect opened fire on the deputies as they tracked him, shooting Deputy Williams eight times and killing him. K9 Diogi was also shot and killed. The other deputy was shot once in the leg and wounded. Deputy Williams was not wearing a vest.

Later in the day, the killer emerged from the woods and fired at a Lakeland Police Department officer who was alerting residents to stay away from the area. The officer returned fire as the killer fled back into the woods.

The killer was located by SWAT team members the following day, hiding underneath a fallen tree that had been covered by underbrush. The man was shot and killed by the officers when he failed to obey their commands and displayed a firearm.

Deputy Williams had served with the Polk County Sheriff's Office for 12 years and was assigned to the Northwest District K-9 Unit. He is survived by his wife, daughter, and two sons.

He is buried in Auburndale Memorial Park, Auburndale, Florida.


  • Age 39
  • Tour 12 years
  • Badge 3655K

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; 9 mm
  • Offender Shot and killed

foot pursuit, traffic stop

Most Recent Reflection

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I remember that day and the events after that day I never met deputy Williams but I do salute him and his K-9 whenever I go to my grandmas place of rest cause just a few feet over is your resting place as well I just want to thank you


March 15, 2023

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