Arsonist with AR-15 Shot By Deputies on I-4

Arsonist Florida man Luke Neely, 30, is in the Polk County Jail after a setting fire to a house in Polk County as well as Hillsborough County

America’s favorite Sheriff, Grady Judd of Polk County stated that a 911 call came into the Polk County communications center around 8:30 a.m. in reference to a man spotted throwing Molotov cocktails onto a residential roof in Lakeland.

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The first deputy arriving on scene witnessed Luke Neely throw on of a total seven Molotov cocktails onto the roof, with two of them exploding, and the other five rolling off the roof before igniting and setting the lawn on fire. The deputy ordered him to stop, but Neely wasn’t having any of it, and fled the scene in his pickup.

The deputy pursued Neely on highway 98 and attempted two PIT maneuvers to stop him. Neely regained control on both attempts and the deputy broke his wrist on the second attempt. The chase ended up on Interstate 4 westbound toward Hillsborough County. As Neely passed the Polk – Hillsborough County line, Polk deputies tried to PIT Neely for a third time and were successful.

Neely’s pickup crashed onto the shoulder of the road, near Dinosaur World. Neely Bailed out of his pickup and fled towards the Tyrannosaurus Rex. (Never thought I’d be able to use that in an article, but this is Florida.)

Sheriff Judd stated that Neely was armed with a loaded AR-15 pattern rifle, 57 rounds of ammunition, as well as a loaded handgun on his hip. Three of the pursuing deputies opened fire on Neely and he was struck with 4 rounds. Neely was his twice in the right leg, once in the left leg and once in the groin.

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Sheriff Judd said, “We changed the looks of his groin forever if you know what I mean.”

Neely was transported to the hospital for treatment where he has been charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder, arson, seven counts of firebombing and one count of resisting arrest.

One would think this story is over, but it’s not.

While the arson and pursuit in Polk County was underway, Tampa police were investigating several arson attempts in the Ybor city area. Allegedly, Neely set fire to a tree around 3:00 a.m. Then he went to the Ritz Hotel and tried to set the hotel’s Air conditioning unit on fire. After that, another tree, and a piece of fence, and then finally, he set a trash fire at Gasper’s Grotto.

Sheriff Judd added a possible motive for this mess stating that a woman Neely went to school with was in the Polk County house he firebombed visiting her parents, and that she works somewhere in Ybor City. Investigators are pursuing that line of questioning. He also added that Neely lives in Polk County with his parents, and that they are not cooperating with investigators.

Tampa Police will be adding more arson charges shortly.


Additional stories you may want to read:

Florida Man Tries to Jump His Car Off a Car Carrier Trailer, Gets Stuck

Florida Suspect Yells ‘I’m Sorry’ to Deputies as He Sprints Across Highway Traffic

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