Florida cop shot in 2018 lashes out as defendant takes plea deal: ‘My life changed forever’


A Florida man who shot a police officer in 2018 was sentenced to 20 years in prison and 10 years of probation Tuesday after he took a plea deal in a Tampa court. 

Walter Richard Jeziorski III opened fire on two Tampa police officers in March 2018, hitting Officer Richard Lehr in an arm and shattering a radio on his chest after the officers came to his house with an arrest warrant, FOX 13 Tampa Bay reported. 

Lehr is still recovering from his injuries.

Jeziorski pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder. 

“On that day, you took six months from me,” Lehr said in court Tuesday. “I had to endure a ride to the hospital not knowing if I would survive another day. The physical damage to my body was the worst case. Now I have phantom pain in my left arm that you fired a bullet through. I have the same pain in my torso where the bullet came to rest.”

“My life changed forever because of the selfish choice you made on that morning,” he added, according to the Tampa Bay Times. 

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Jeziorski’s father had filed a domestic violence injunction against him in 2013 after he allegedly threatened to kill his father, according to FOX 13. The threats continued for years, the Times reported. 

Walter Richard Jeziorski III pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder on Tuesday after he shot at two Tampa officers in 2018, hitting one. 

Walter Richard Jeziorski III pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder on Tuesday after he shot at two Tampa officers in 2018, hitting one. 
(Tampa Bay Police)

Jeziorski apologized to the officers but claimed they had not identified themselves as police when they came to his door that day. 

“They knocked at my door, did not say ‘police.’ If they’d say ‘police’ then he wouldn’t have to come up here and cry,” Jeziorski said of Lehr’s emotional testimony. 

He claimed he tried to aim for Lehr’s bulletproof vest because he didn’t want to kill him.

“I’m glad he’s OK,” he said in court, according to the Times. 

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Lehr said he hoped Jeziorski got the help he needed, the newspaper reported.  He has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. “I pray … that one day when you’re finally released, you do not terrorize your family or others ever again.”

Jeziorski’s mother also apologized to the officers, thanking them for “defending us, we will never forget that,” FOX 13 reported. 

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