08/25/2006

Deputies cleared of wrongdoing after shooting lottery winner in Florida

The Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla.- Two sheriff's deputies were cleared of wrongdoing for shooting a lottery-jackpot winner who they said refused to drop his gun when they confronted him last spring.

The Seminole-Brevard State Attorney's office ruled Thursday that Deputies Ronnie Remus and Bill Morris Jr. did not break any state laws in the April 20 shooting of Robert Swofford Jr.

The deputies were investigating break-ins at an apartment complex near Swofford's home when they confronted him in the field with a 9 mm handgun in Forest City, about 10 miles north of Orlando, according to reports.

Remus and Morris identified themselves as law enforcement officers and repeatedly ordered Swofford to drop the gun, but he refused, sheriff's Lt. Dennis Lemma said. The deputies shot Swofford at least three times. He was released from a hospital after a lengthy stay.

The deputies, who had been on administrative duty, were returned to full duty, Lemma said.

In late 2004, Swofford won the Florida Lotto and accepted a lump-sum payout of $34.7 million before taxes. He waited to claim the money until he reached a divorce settlement with his wife, one of two sisters with whom he had fathered children.

Swofford gave Ann Lackey Swofford more than $5.25 million as part of the divorce and set up a $1 million certificate of deposit to support their child. A judge ordered him also to financially support a child he has with Ann's sister, Mary Lackey, though she did not get any of the jackpot.

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