NEWS RELEASE                                             

For Immediate Release
March 30, 2009
Contact: Michele Nicholson
Public Information Officer
  (850) 651-7420



      A Fort Walton Beach man facing three counts of attempted murder is now in the Okaloosa County Department of Corrections after being released Monday evening from a Pensacola hospital.

      39-year old Ronald Willard of 1009 Holten Avenue was injured March 17th after using a semi-automatic weapon to shoot at members of Eglin's 96th Security Forces on Eglin's reservation. Willard was shot once in the abdomen when officers returned fire. He had been undergoing treatment at Pensacola's Sacred Heart Hospital,  but was released around 6 pm Monday and then taken into immediate custody.

     On March 17th, Willard had driven onto the Eglin reservation while trying to elude Okaloosa County Sheriff's deputies who were pursing him in connection with another shooting. He is charged with attempted murder for chasing 29-year old Jason Ward of Fort Walton Beach and shooting Ward in his car around 3 a.m. while they both drove down Lewis Turner Boulevard. Willard faces an additional two counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer for shooting at the Eglin Security Forces Officers later that day.

     Inside Willard's car on the reservation law enforcement officers found an additional assault-type rifle, two .40 caliber handguns and several hundred rounds of ammunition.