What started as a robbery at the Target store pharmacy in Palm Coast’s Town Center Sunday afternoon turned into a car chase, a searching perimeter at Integra Woods apartments, and the arrest of 34-year-old Michael Shudy on two robbery charges and a count of fleeing and eluding police. Shudy had to be intubated at Florida Hospital Flagler and held there for at least 24 hours before his booking at the county jail.
The incident began after 3 p.m. when Target employees reported the robbery. One employee was behind the pharmacy counter when the man who’d later be identified as Shudy came up to the drop-off area of the counter, according to an incident report. He said he was there to pick up medication. When asked to shift to the pick-up window, Shudy stayed put.
Instead, he gave the employee a note demanding methadone and threatening that he had a firearm as he motioned to his waistband, though he did not show a firearm. Methadone is a morphine-like synthetic substitute for heroin that is dispensed legally to heroin addicts to help them off their addiction. An employee turned over three bottles of methadone to Shudy, who left quickly.
Employees provided a description of the suspect. A Flagler County Sheriff‘s deputy had positioned his cruiser in the median at State Road 100 and Landing Lane and saw a man matching the description dispatch had provided. The man was in a newer model blue 4-door vehicle in the right turn lane, coming out of the plaza. He “appeared to be nervous as he kept looking in my direction and then looking away,” the deputy reported. More closely identifying the suspect, the deputy made a U-turn and immediately activated his emergency lights and siren to conduct a traffic stop.
Instead, the driver ignored the cop and drove on. “The vehicle was driving recklessly and failed to stop at the red light at the intersection of SR 100 and Airport Rd.,” the deputy reported. The vehicle turned right onto Seminole Woods Blvd. as the pursuit continued until it reached the Integra Woods apartments, just before Seminole Woods Boulevard ends at U.S. 1.
“Once inside Integra Woods the vehicle crashed into the landscaped median prior to the gate and continued going into the complex,” the deputy reported. Several residents flagged the deputy down, telling him the car had ended up at the end of the complex, where the car was located near Building 800.
The car did not belong to Shudy, but cross-referencing the car’s owner with “a known associate” turned up Shudy’s name, along with his address in the 800 building at Integra Woods.
A perimeter was set up around building 800. Bunnell Police Officer Austin Chewning narrowed the car owner’s residence to Apartment 210, through contact with the property manager. Two deputies took a position on the second floor platform where they had a visual of the door in case the suspect came out.
As units were in place a Hispanic man came out of the apartment–Renaldo Suro, 39, of Flagler Beach, and Priscilla Hockla, 42, the owner of the car Shudy had driven. “Pricilla then attempted to slam the door on units but due to officer safety the door was prevented from being shut,” an incident report states. Hockla “was removed from the apartment and secured and removed to the front of the building. Several units went into the apartment to clear the apartment as [Hockla] was stating that her boyfriend Michael was still in the apartment.” Shudy was located inside and “secured.”
All three individuals were taken to the Investigative Services Division for interviews. Shudy told cops that Suro and Hockra “have nothing to do with this, that they don’t have a drug problem,” according to the incident report. A separate report states that Shudy was taken to Florida Hospital Flagler for medical clearance. But once there, “FHF employees observed Michael’s heavily sedated state and immediately intubated” him.
He had not yet been booked at the county jail as of mid-afternoon Monday. His booking history includes an arrest for grand theft and another for shoplifting in 2011, and a probation violation in 2009. Last May he was sentenced to a year’s probation on a misdemeanor.