Ex-insurance official, now a sheriff’s deputy, shoots suspect

Times Staff Writer

Former California Department of Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush -- now working as a sheriff’s deputy in Lee County, Fla. -- earlier this week shot and critically injured a man who allegedly resisted arrest, authorities said Friday.

Quackenbush was trying to handcuff Teodor Buda, 57, Tuesday afternoon when a scuffle ensued, said Tony Schall, spokesman for the Lee County Sheriff’s Department. When Buda, who was suspected of battery and domestic violence, wrestled away Quackenbush’s Taser and pointed it at him, Quackenbush shot Buda in the abdomen, Schall said.

Buda, who has a record of resisting arrest and assaulting officers, underwent surgery and was listed in critical condition Friday morning, authorities said.

Quackenbush was treated for minor cuts and bruises and placed on paid administrative leave while the department investigates the shooting, Schall said.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to a domestic battery call from Buda’s wife on Monday night, but did not find him at the residence.


About 1 p.m. Tuesday, Quackenbush, 54, was on a “public assistance” call to protect Buda’s wife as she retrieved her belongings from the couple’s duplex apartment in a neighborhood known as Lehigh Acres. Quackenbush encountered Buda inside the apartment.

In an e-mail Friday, Quackenbush declined to comment because internal reviews are ongoing.

Buda could not be reached for comment.

Quackenbush, California’s second elected insurance commissioner, resigned in 2000 after 5 1/2 years in office amid accusations of corruption.

He admitted in legislative hearings that his department reached secret settlements with insurance companies that allowed them to avoid penalties for mishandling Northridge earthquake claims by paying into foundations Quackenbush created.

He started working for the Lee County Sheriff’s Department in southwest Florida in June 2005, officials said.