PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A transient who attacked a Bay County Sheriff’s deputy with his own gun was found guilty of attempted murder Wednesday night.
It took the jury about two hours to find Michael Barrett guilty of attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer and depriving an officer with means of protection or communication.
Barrett was confronted by Investigator Dakota Merritt in April of 2021 after he allegedly stole $5,000 from a Callaway home. Investigators and prosecutors said Barrett got Merritt’s gun, struck him in the face with it, and then attempted to shoot him. However, Merritt got his hand on the weapon and prevented it from firing.
Merritt then wrestled the gun away from Barrett and shot him.
“Law enforcement and their families risk so much every single day,” said Prosecutor Peter Overstreet. “This verdict will remind those who try to harm our law enforcement officers that we will aggressively prosecute these cases and seek the mandatory life sentence it deserves. And it will remind our officers that our community supports them.”
Barrett’s sentencing is set for June 12 at 9 a.m.