An early-morning domestic dispute escalated Friday into a gun battle between a lone suspect and Polk County deputies.

LAKELAND — An early-morning domestic dispute escalated Friday into a gun battle between a lone suspect and Polk County deputies.

No deputies were injured, but the suspect, 32-year-old Joshua A. Imhoff, a Lakeland resident with a criminal history, was shot multiple times, Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said during a news briefing at State Road 33 and Combee Road, close to where the suspect was apprehended.

“He’s a bad actor,” Judd said. “He was wild, out of control, and made suicide-by-cop statements.”

A stretch of SR 33 between University Boulevard and Combee Road remained closed for hours Friday while sheriff’s investigators completed their work. Mobile units, a command center and forensics-investigation laboratory were brought in to assist in the investigation.

Judd described a chaotic scenario that unfolded before sunrise Friday, beginning at 4:23 a.m. when a woman called 911 to report that her ex-boyfriend was threatening to come to her home with a gun.

“He (Imhoff) threatened to kill her,” Judd said.

According to Judd, the woman evacuated her home and sheriff’s deputies caught up with Imhoff and attempted a traffic stop, but he led deputies on a chase westbound on Interstate 4.

Deputies in unmarked vehicles attempted another stop as the suspect exited I-4 at SR 33 and turned onto Tomkow Road, heading north to Old Polk City Road.

The chase ended on SR 33 just south of I-4.

“While we’re trying to set up stop sticks, he begins to shoot at us,” Judd said. “We eventually rammed the car off the road” but Imhoff fled on foot while continuing to shoot at deputies.

Deputies eventually used their vehicle to knock Imhoff down, but “he jumped out with a knife,” Judd said.

Imhoff was shot and then given first aid by deputies involved in the chase. He was transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, where he underwent surgery and is listed in critical but stable condition, the Sheriff's Office said.

Imhoff is being charged with six counts of attempted first-degree murder on a law enforcement officer; aggravated assault on an officer; fleeing to elude, aggravated stalking, domestic violence by strangulation, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and threats against an officer.

Imhoff, who resides at 2507 Meadow Lane, is a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing a firearm, the Sheriff's Office said. He has a history of felony and misdemeanor charges, including domestic-aggravated stalking, burglary, grand theft, forgery and shooting a deadly missile into a dwelling/vehicle/building.

Judd said he’s not sure how many shots were fired, either by deputies or the suspect.

Imhoff's prior criminal history includes 12 felony and four misdemeanor charges, consisting of domestic aggravated stalking, violation of probation, giving false name to 2nd-hand dealer, burglary, grand theft, forgery, possession of marijuana, possession of controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia, shooting a deadly missile, battery, and domestic battery.

According to standard protocol following deputy-involved shootings, the deputies involved will be on administrative leave with pay during an investigation. The PCSO homicide unit will conduct a criminal investigation; administrative investigations will conduct an administrative inquiry; and the State Attorney's Office will conduct its own investigation.

Imhoff was a recipient of Direct Gates's Newspaper with a Heart program in December 2006. At the time, his infant daughter, Helena, was being treated for an aggressive form of cancer and Imhoff was employed as a heavy-equipment operator in the phosphate industry. The child died in June 2007.

Eric Pera can be reached at eric.pera@directgates.com or 863-802-7528.