Sheriff Flowers: Woman shot once after man suffered mental health episode

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A woman has non-life threatening injuries after her boyfriend suffered a mental health episode and started firing shots in their apartment Tuesday, striking her once, Indian River County Sheriff Eric Flowers said.

The woman was expected to be released Tuesday from Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital, Flowers said. Flowers said the man was being treated for mental health services.

“This could have been a lot worse,” Flowers said “We’re happy (the woman) is going to be just fine.”

Sheriff’s officials have not released the identities of the couple. The incident prompted the hospital to be placed on a brief lockdown.

“At this time it appears that (the man) is struggling from serious mental health issues, so we’re getting him the help that he needs,” Flowers said. “Charges are possible, but at this time we’re focused on the mental health piece.”

The incident happened about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday at an apartment complex at Fairways at Grand Harbor, located off Indian River Boulevard and south of 53rd Street. Flowers said the man was self-medicating with marijuana and prescription pills.

Flowers said the man and woman later admitted to deputies they both were using marijuana.

“This is a bad mix that occurred,” Flowers said. “Somebody who’s taking both marijuana and prescription pills and mixing those with deadly firearms – it’s very dangerous.”

The man began hallucinating and believed there was someone in their second-story apartment. Flowers said the man pulled out a handgun and started firing in his bedroom.

One of the bullets grazed his girlfriend’s neck and lodged inside of her hand, Flowers said. The man and woman drove together to the hospital.

A third adult who lives in the apartment was not in the bedroom or involved in the shooting, Flowers said.

Deputies recovered the gun from the apartment as part of a risk protection order, Flowers said. Flowers said deputies were working with a county judge to make sure the man doesn’t have weapons in the future.

Deputies were still searching the home to recover the narcotics and any other evidence.

No further details were immediately available. 

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