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Case against alleged cop shooter is on

By Staff | Apr 13, 2018

Jon Webster Hay

A man charged with four counts of attempted murder for reportedly shooting at three Sanibel police officers and a deputy sheriff in November 2016 has been found competent to stand trial.

Jon Webster Hay, 50, was back in a Lee County courtroom on April 9 for motions.

According to court documents, the administrator for the Treasure Coast Forensic Treatment Center relayed through the Florida Department of Children and Families that Hay “no longer meets the criteria for continued commitment” under state law covering mentally deficient and mentally ill defendants.

A psychological evaluation on Hay was later filed with the Lee County Clerk of Courts.

At the recent hearing, Circuit Judge Bruce Kyle found him competent to stand trial.

“He has been deemed competent to proceed,” Samantha Syoen, the spokeswoman for the State Attorney’s Office, said. “The case is moving forward now.”

Hay had been found incompetent to stand trial last year due to mental illness.

Assistant Public Defender Travis Atkinson is representing Hay.

He did not return a message seeking comment on the case.

Hay has a court appearance set for June 27.

According to court records, Hay filed notice of appeal on March 1 in the Second District Court of Appeals regarding the case against him. He alleges in the handwritten document that federal law was violated, in conjunction with his civil rights, and he asks the court to dismiss the case as not guilty.

On April 5, the Second District Court of Appeals filed an order directing Hay to “show cause” as to why his appeal should not be dismissed. The documents indicate that he has 15 days to respond.

Hay is facing four counts of attempted first-degree premeditated murder on law enforcement officer, along with one count each of resist officer flee elude law enforcement officer with lights siren active and weapon offense missile into dwelling vehicle building or aircraft – all the charges are felonies.

At about 8 p.m. Nov. 20, 2016, Sanibel police Officer Jared Ciccone conducted a traffic stop in the area of 2330 Periwinkle Way. A gray van passed by and shot at him, striking him once in the upper body. Ciccone radioed that shots had been fired and provided a vehicle description, where the shots had come from, the direction the van was traveling and that the driver was a man, according to official records.

Officer Christopher Dowaliby heard the call while at 979 E. Gulf Drive. He turned west onto Periwinkle Way and located a gray-green van traveling eastbound in the 1200 block. Dowaliby pursed the vehicle with his sirens and lights flashing until it came to a stop on Sand Castle Road.

Dowaliby saw a man, later identified as Hay, exit the van. Hay fired several shots at Dowaliby with what appeared to be a rifle. Officer Chad Maik reported that Hay opened fire with an AR-15 style rifle.

Both of the officers’ vehicles were struck by gunfire, with 28 spent cartridge cases found where Hay was shooting from. Seventeen spent cartridge cases were recovered near where the officers were, according to a SAO review of the incident. Dowaliby and Maik, as well as Lee County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Julie Weber, fired at Hay. Hay received a “penetrating gunshot wound to the left shoulder.”

In statements to the state investigator, the officers reported that commands were yelled for Hay to get out of the van and to show his hands. All three stated that Hay began shooting at them, “which caused them to return fire because they were in fear for their own lives and for the lives of the other two law enforcement officers.” The back-and-forth shooting continued for about one minute.

Hay then exited the van and ran to the front it of. He continued shooting at the officers before getting back into the vehicle and driving away. At about 8:40 p.m., 911 received a call from a man who stated that his son just returned home from an altercation with police and it appeared that he had been shot.

Within an hour, Hay was detained in the driveway of his Sanibel home. A .45-caliber pistol was recovered from a fanny pack around his waist. He was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital.

At the home, a .223-caliber rifle was found inside a duffle bag inside the truck of a car in the garage, as well as a .10 mm cartridge case. A loaded Glock .10 mm pistol was recovered from the nearby woods.

On Jan. 22, the SAO announced that it had completed its review of the incident and found the use of deadly force by Dowaliby, Maik and Weber justified in the officer-involved shooting on the island.