South Florida federal prosecutors have charged 37-year-old Drew Curtis Sikes with attempting to kill an officer of the United States and with a federal gun crime after an armed standoff in Everglades National Park on Sunday.
According to allegations in a criminal complaint affidavit, on March 28, 2021, Sikes shot several rounds from an AK-47 semi-automatic rifle at law enforcement officers who were attempting to get Sikes out of a wooded area inside Everglades National Park.
It is alleged that Sikes had been involved in an altercation at the Park earlier that day and that law enforcement officers were responding to a call reporting the alleged incident. Sikes was not at the location of the reported altercation when officers arrived. After some initial investigating, which included observing scrapes and marks on the face of Sikes’s alleged victim, officers searched for Sikes along highway 9336, between the Mahogany Hammocks and Flamingo Park sections of Everglades National Park.
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When officers arrived in marked police vehicles to the wooded area where they believed Sikes to be, they used a loudspeaker to convey information and commands to Sikes: They identified themselves as law enforcement and directed Sikes to exit the woods. At that point, according to the complaint affidavit, officers heard gunfire and felt rounds traveling over their heads.
Despite officers’ continued commands that Sikes cease fire and emerge from the woods, Sikes continued shooting, says the affidavit. Law enforcement officers negotiated for over an hour with Sikes, who eventually emerged from the woods and was arrested, according to the allegations.
Sikes is scheduled to make his initial court appearance today, March 30, 2021, in federal magistrate court in Miami.
Juan Antonio “Tony” Gonzalez, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Miami Field Office, and Christopher Smith, Special Agent in Charge, National Park Service, made the announcement.
FBI Miami and the National Park Service are investigating this case. Miami Dade Police Department provided assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorney Manolo Reboso is prosecuting this case.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.