INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — An unidentified man was taken into custody after barricading himself inside a home with weapons overnight Tuesday and threatening ‘suicide by cop,’ officials said.
During a nearly seven-hour standoff, Indian River County sheriff’s SWAT and Crisis Negotiation teams attempted to talk with the man before using chemical munitions to force him out of the residence. The man – described as acting erratically – was taken to Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital for a mental health evaluation.
“He was both inside and outside on his property throughout the entire standoff,” Indian River County sheriff’s spokesman Maj. Eric Flowers said. “At times, he would step outside and fire off rounds from his rifle into the air.”
The man was not injured in the incident. Flowers said the man would not be charged.
“It is a mental health issue. He did not commit a crime,” Flowers said.
Indian River County deputies responded to reports of a man threatening ‘suicide by cop’ about 8 p.m. Monday at a large property in the 7000 block of 57th Street. Relatives and friends told deputies the man recently received a health diagnosis, causing him stress.
A sheriff’s helicopter circled the residence and determined the man was firing rounds on the property, deputies said. Family members tried to have the man leave the residence unarmed, but he refused.
The SWAT and Crisis Negotiation teams talked with the man, who family members said was heavily intoxicated. The man said he would shoot anyone who stepped on his property, deputies said.
Negotiators spoke with the man for more than two hours in an attempt to get him to come out peacefully. The man eventually stopped all communications with deputies.
Deputies tried unsuccessfully to contact the man using a loud speaker. The SWAT team then fired off chemical rounds inside the residence, forcing the man out of the home, deputies said.
The man was taken into custody about 3 a.m. Tuesday, deputies said.
“We are extremely proud of the patience and restraint shown by our entire team last night. Deputies took all precautions to protect our community,” Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar said in a statement. “Our CNT team performed well under stress and did their best to resolve the situation. Ultimately, our SWAT team was able to safely resolve this incident. We are glad this man will get the help he needs.”