INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A 29-year-old man who was shot by a deputy after charging at the officer with a small sword, was hospitalized late Friday, officials said.
The unidentified man was taken by ambulance to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center & Heart Institute in Fort Pierce, Indian River County sheriff’s spokesman Maj. Eric Flowers said. The deputy who fired the shot was not injured.
The deputy was placed on paid administrative leave, which is protocol for police-involved shootings.
Neither the deputy’s name nor the man’s name were released Friday.
The incident unfolded about 7 p.m. Friday after deputies received a series of calls about a disturbance at a home at 12th Street Southwest and 35th Avenue Southwest in the Grovenor Estates community, Flowers said. The first two calls reported a man breaking items inside a home while the third call stated the man was armed with a knife, which was later confirmed to be a sword.
It was unclear who called 911. Even though he was alone at the home during the incident, Flowers said the man, possibly under the influence of drugs, presented a danger to himself.
Deputies arrived on scene and found the man in the yard with the sword. Deputies chased the man inside his residence.
The SWAT team and Crisis Negotiation Team were called in after the man barricaded himself inside the home, Flowers said. Deputies used a loud speaker and tried to call the man by phone to try and get him to come outside.
“Multiple attempts were made to contact him inside the home,” Flowers said. “He refused to come out.”
The SWAT team used a metal ram to break through the front door, but did not go inside. The team used surveillance equipment to look inside the home and discovered the man locked himself inside a room, Flowers said.
“Our goal was to not go inside the home,” Flowers said, noting the man could’ve had more deadly weapons inside.
The SWAT team shattered the room window from the outside and saw the man standing with a small sword about 12 inches long. The man yelled ‘shoot me’ at deputies, Flowers said.
Deputies fired several non-lethal bean bag rounds and deployed Tasers on the man, all of which were unsuccessful. A neighbor who lives a block north told Vero News he saw at least three armored vehicles and heard several shots.
Flowers said the man fled out of a side door and ran into a yard at a home across the street.
A deputy confronted the man, who was still armed with the sword. When the man charged at the deputy, the officer shot him once, Flowers said.
It was unclear where the bullet struck the man’s body. Emergency medical services treated the man and took him to the hospital.
“He still had the taser probes in him when he went to the hospital,” Flowers said.
His condition was not immediately available. Deputies will obtain a search warrant to look inside the man’s residence.
Deputies will remain in the area overnight speaking with witnesses and processing the scene, Flowers said. The Indian River County State Attorney’s Office and investigators were also at the scene speaking with detectives.
Several patrol vehicles could be seen in the area Friday night. Crime scene taped roped off a portion of 12th Street Southwest.
Deputies blocked off 12th Street Southwest at 35th Avenue Southwest. Deputies recovered the sword from the scene.
Flowers said an update on the man’s condition would be available Monday.
Photos by Nick Samuel