Polk County Sheriffs Office Press Release
Just before 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, 2019, the PCSO Emergency Communications Center (ECC) received a 911 call from a man who was driving eastbound down Carl Boozer Road (nearest cross street Powerline Road) when he observed a 2005 Chrysler Town and Country mini-van pulled off to the side of the road on the north shoulder facing west, with two women in the two front seats, fighting and screaming. As he approached the van and slowed, he heard the driver, positively identified as 47-year-old Wendy Schutte of Davenport, scream that the passenger, 76-year-old Linda Wages of Davenport, had a gun and was going to shoot her (Wendy). In fear for his safety, the witness called 911 and fled the area.
PCSO deputies and Haines City PD officers immediately headed to the scene. The first deputy to arrive on-scene, 52-year-old Deputy Christopher Johnston, arrived eastbound on Carl Boozer Road and stopped his patrol car facing the van. He observed the fight occurring in the van. Schutte, who was in the driver’s seat, shouted to Deputy Johnston that the passenger, Wages, had a gun and was trying to shoot her. The deputy ordered them both to show their hands.
Wages then ducked down and came back up and, in fear for the victim’s life and his own, when she reappeared the deputy fired at the suspect, striking her.
The deputy and other responding units immediately rendered aid to the suspect, and she was transported to a nearby hospital. She is being treated for gunshot wounds on the right side of her body, which do not appear to be life-threatening. Surgery was not required. The victim has injuries consistent with being battered and complained of head pain afterwards. An ambulance was summoned to the scene for her. Nobody else was injured.
Wages is Schutte’s mother. Schutte reported that they were enroute to Winn-Dixie in Haines City when she pulled over to compose herself due to being upset about a family dispute that had just occurred inside their shared home.
Schutte told deputies that Wages began to batter her by hitting her on the face, head, and shoulder, pulling her hair, and biting her. Wages then told Schutte that she (Wages) had a gun in her bag and she would shoot Schutte and “end it all” if she “didn’t stop blubbering,” at which time Schutte grabbed the bag and placed it under her left leg near the driver’s door. This bag is what Wages was reaching for during the ongoing struggle, before and after Deputy Johnston arrived.
After the incident, Schutte complained of head pain and was transported to a local hospital by PCFR to be treated for apparent low blood sugar and her other injuries. She was admitted and is still being treated.
The van was towed to our Crime Scene warehouse to be processed. There was no gun found inside the bag or van. The bag belongs to Wages and her daughter believed there was a gun inside based on the suspect’s actions and statements.
Wages has been charged with battery – domestic violence, and aggravated assault – domestic violence, and she will be booked into the Polk County Jail upon her release from the hospital.
Deputy Johnston will be on paid administrative leave per standard protocol. He has been a deputy for two years and is currently assigned to the Northeast District, in patrol. There are three ongoing investigations: An investigation into the battery domestic violence and aggravated assault, by the PCSO Bureau of Criminal Investigations; an internal investigation of the shooting, by the PCSO Administrative Investigations Unit; and a review by the State Attorney’s Office, who was on-scene and will review the PCSO investigations once they are completed.