Off-Duty Officer Attacked at Home

By Al Pefley  email

Palm Beach Gardens, FL (WFLX)

New information about an overnight shooting in Palm Beach Gardens that left an off-duty police officer injured.

We have just learned the officer involved the incident is identified as Sgt. Michael Dodson of Riviera Beach Police.

Palm Beach Gardens Police  remained on the scene for most of the day, waiting on a search warrant, after the incident  happened about  three this morning  at The Isles, an upscale neighborhood on Military Trail in Palm Beach Gardens north of PGA Boulevard.    The home was roped off with crime scene tape, a white SUV parked in the driveway.

Gun shots rang out in the wee hours of the morning Friday, when police say Sgt.  Dodson opened fire, shooting at two men who confronted him wearing ski masks.

An Isles resident who lives on a different street about a block away says he happened to be awake at the time and heard the gunshots.

"I was about to climb in bed and I heard boom, boom, boom, boom, boom! I mean automatic. Pistol. And I told my wife somebody's mad at somebody," said Neal Sorensen, a retired truck driver who lives at The Isles.

Investigators now say Sgt. Dodson was confronted in his garage by two white males.

They attacked him, and he then shot at them as they fled. Neighbors recall hearing anywhere from 8 to 10 shots.

According to police, it does not appear the attackers were injured by the gunfire. They ran off and were not caught.

Sgt. Dodson was taken to a hospital where he was treated for what they describe as minor injuries.

Police swarmed the area, searching from the air by helicopter and on the ground but could not find the two masked attackers.

"Am I scared? No I'm not scared. No, I been through worse than this," said Augie Cassela, an Isles resident.

One couple told us they were awakened by somebody pounding on their door at three in the morning, shortly before the shooting.  The knocking went on for a long time,  about 15 minutes.

And they have a hunch the guys knocking on their door were the same ones who attacked the off-duty cop in his garage.

"I think they were just going around knocking on doors looking for an opportunity. If they annoy you enough by banging on your door, you may be silly enough to open your door," said Anthony Cassa, Isles resident.

Neighbors say shootings like this, in this part of Palm Beach Gardens at The Isles, are very uncommon.

"It could happen anywhere. And we just hope they're caught," said Janice Cassa.

Sgt. Dodson has been placed on paid leave, pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation into  the shooting.

Police say it's not clear if Dodson was specifically targeted because he's a police officer, or if it was just a random incident that had nothing to do with him being a member of law enforcement.   What he was doing in his garage at three in the morning is not  clear.  Although  Cassa said it was his understanding that  Dodson had just arrived home when he was attacked.