Indian River Man gets Life in prison for shooting Deputy.
On December 18, 2015, Indian River County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Lester was shot while conducting a traffic stop on Old Dixie Highway in Gifford. Andrew Coffee, Jr. punched Deputy Lester in the face. He then removed a firearm from his wasteland, and then fired several shots in an obvious attempt to kill him. Deputy Lester returned fire and struck Coffee twice. Coffee then fled the scene on foot. His wounds ceased his efforts and he was apprehended a short time later hiding by a citrus packing house nearby.
As a result of this incident, Coffee was convicted of several felonies. They are attempted first degree murder of a law enforcement officer by discharging a firearm, battery on a law enforcement officer, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. On November 9, 2017, the Honorable Judge Cynthia Cox sentenced Coffee to life in prison.
A full recovery
After making a full recovery, Deputy Lester was transferred to the Criminal Investigations Section. He has excelled in his new position as a detective. After the sentencing, Detective Lester stated, “I am thankful for the support of my wife and family, including my Sheriff’s Office family. I will obviously always remember this, but I am ready to move on and am glad it’s over. I had just become engaged 10 days before the shooting and that was on my mind as it was happening. I knew I had to get home to her. I survived because of the training I had here at the Sheriff’s Office.” He went on to state, “I love my position as a detective and I recently became a training officer. I hope to be able to use this experience to help teach other law enforcement officers.”
Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar noted, “Detective Lester is to be commended for not only the manner in which he subdued this career criminal, but for his never-ending professionalism in the aftermath of the shooting. From his ability to provide critical information to other responding deputies, to his rise to the position of detective, and to his courtroom testimony which landed the career criminal where he belongs for the rest of his life. I would also like to commend the team which brought this case to a successful conclusion, including the other deputies who were on duty that night, the dispatchers in our 911 center, the detectives who handled the criminal investigation, and the rest of the Agency who was there to support Chris. When someone takes on one of our deputies, they take on all of us.”
After the sentencing, Coffee was returned to the Indian River County Jail and will be transported to the Florida Department of Corrections within the next few weeks.