Deputy Sheriff Vernon Matthew Williams

Deputy Sheriff Vernon Matthew Williams

Polk County Sheriff's Office, Florida

End of Watch Thursday, September 28, 2006

Add to My Heroes

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

View all 905 Reflections

Never met you but your t-shirt sits in Daddy's closet. As Momma and Luke go into the line of duty I pray that you watch over them. I hope that you and Pawpaw have been laughing in Heaven together since his passing. You are missed each and every day by the people in your life.

A family member

December 4, 2023

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.