[PHOTO CREDIT: Lake Legal News]
[Original Publish Date: 02/20/20]
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EUSTIS, Florida — Three special people and a local church were honored by Eustis Police Department and the City of Eustis Thursday night at the Eustis City Commission’s bi-monthly meeting.
On Dec. 19, 2019, convicted felon Jayson Colvin was wanted for the armed robbery of Shell, 1905 North State Road 19, Eustis earlier in the month. Around noon that day, Colvin returned to the scene and was in an altercation with Tim King of Tim King’s Automotive and fired shots. The mechanic shop is located behind the Shell Colvin was suspected of robbing. Colvin fled and raced through the parking lot of Winn Dixie to County Road 44 with King’s brother, Jack King, following behind. King followed Colvin from to Eustis, several miles to Umatilla until Colvin crashed and bailed, giving law enforcement vital information that aided in his capture, said EPD Chief Gary Calhoun. Jack King was awarded the Citizens Award for Valor, the highest civilian honor. Jack King was unable to attend the meeting and his brother Tim accepted it in his absence.
Winheim was in full uniform and in his unmarked truck — a truck well-known in the community to be driven by Winheim — at the traffic light at County Road 44 and State Road 19 when he heard gunshots coming from the area of a small mechanic shop, a Shell gas station and a Winn Dixie. Winheim’s wife, Stephenie, was on the phone with him when he heard the shots. “I was minding my own business,” Winheim told LLN in an exclusive interview just two days after he was shot.
Winheim got behind Colvin and followed him, but did not activate his emergency lights. Colvin pulled over, jumped out of his vehicle and ambushed Winheim, shooting through the windshield of his truck, striking him in the neck. Colvin fled and Winheim bailed out and ran to the back of his truck. A vehicle being driven by Tonia Britt, owner of Bug Man Pest Control in Umatilla, pulled in behind Winheim during the shooting and Winheim ran to it. Britt rolled down the window and said, “I’m on the phone with 9-1-1.” Winheim responded, “Ma’am, I am 9-1-1. I’ve already called them.” He asked her how bad he was bleeding and Britt held her jacket to Winheim’s neck to help control the bleeding.
Winheim returned Britt’s jacket to her at Thursday’s meeting, freshly-cleaned, of course. Britt was honored with the Samaritan Award. Britt, not one for attention, told LLN she did what anyone would have done, but Winheim believes she went above and beyond. “I’m thankful God put me there,” she explained to LLN.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers descended on Umatilla on Dec. 19 to assist in locating Colvin. He was found after several hours of searching and after refusing orders, he was killed. During the search, First Baptist Church of Umatilla opened its doors to offer food and rest area for the many officers, most from out of town. Pastor Brooks Braswell was at the meeting to accept a Letter of Recognition for the church’s efforts that day.
The last award of the evening was given to Winheim. Calhoun, whose voice cracked as he spoke, honored Winheim with the Medal of Gallantry for his extraordinary effort, risking his life while attempting to apprehend a dangerous felon. Winheim walked up to the podium and insisted his wife, Stephenie pin the medal to his uniform.
Choking back tears, Winheim said, “Thank you for the entire community who came together that day to help my family, and the Eustis Police Department family and the City of Eustis. Thank you all very much.”
Our Editor-in-Chief, Marilyn M. Aciego, began writing for Lake Legal News in 2010. Born and raised in Lake County, she is a graduate of Umatilla High School and Lake-Sumter State College. She started her journalism career at LSSC, where she was editor of both student publications, The Angler and The Odyssey. Her professional career began at the Daily Commercial in 2004 where she covered cops and courts the majority of her time there until she left in 2009. Currently, along with being Editor-in-Chief of Lake Legal News, she is the Florida bureau chief for an international media organization. She has made more than two dozen appearances on live national television, including Nancy Grace and the Greta Van Susteren show, along with her appearance on Evil Twins. Contact her with breaking news, tips, and feedback by sending an e-mail to 352Tips@gmail.com. You can also contact us on our Facebook page — and make sure you “Like” and “Follow us” there. [PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Whicher]