FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Witnesses say they remain shocked, and yet impressed, with how police quickly ended a shootout in their normally quiet Fort Lauderdale neighborhood on Monday night.
Through all the chaos and rain, it took an officer one single shot to wound a man who cops say was shooting down from the fourth floor of a building in the 600 block of Northeast 14th Street.
Charles J. Schweickert, a 68-year-old architect, lived in the condo on the fourth floor and is now facing a number of charges, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
“He was shooting at the police — like, it was terrifying,” neighbor Jennifer Smith said. “Our entire block was cordoned off — there were police parked in my grass for hours.”
Fort Lauderdale police say that just before 7 p.m. Monday they got a call about someone shooting a gun.
“Upon arrival, we were also simultaneously flagged down by a delivery driver who stated that he was confronted by an armed man,” Fort Lauderdale police chief Rick Maglione said. “He fired several rounds at the van, striking it numerous times”
Police say the shooter also shot at them multiple times, before they shot back.
“Police officers jumped out of the car — immediately draw their guns and were pointing at the fourth floor,” said Julie Zeller, who lives across the street. “We ran to get behind our couch, and as we were running to get behind the couch, we heard the poom.”
“Our officers fired one round striking the individual in the stomach,” Maglione said.
Police say the suspect is still in the hospital, critically injured, but stable.
“The most impressive thing I’ve ever seen — because it was raining — and from the ground floor, somebody shot him on the top floor,” Smith said.
Neighbors tell Local 10 News that police have been to the complex in the past couple of weeks, though there’s no word yet on what those calls were about.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is now investigating the officer-involved shooting. The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending the result of the investigation.