OKALOOSA ISLAND, Fla. (WKRG) — UPDATE 1:30 pm. — Okaloosa County deputies shot and killed a homeless man wielding a machete Friday morning on Okaloosa Island, according to Sheriff Eric Aden.
The suspect stabbed a man visiting from Georgia minutes before deputies arrived on the scene. The incident happened around 8:15 am.
Sheriff Aden said calls came in for a man seen walking around making suicidal and homicidal threats to people on The Boardwalk.
The sheriff said the suspect in his 30s stabbed a man walking the beach with his wife. The woman was able to get away, the man was cut on the back of the shoulder and the arm.
Sheriff Aden said deputies arrived around 8:14 am and pleaded with the man to put the machete down. The man refused and charged at deputies. The two officers both fired shots and the suspect died on the pavilion deck.
“Our first officer arrived at the back of the boardwalk here, engaged the subject, fled with him multiple times. Got a safe distance from him trying to keep him at a safe distance, which was difficult,” said Sheriff Eric Aden. “The individual was going back and forth and yielding or wielding the machete. The individual that was cut, the injured tourist was on the deck pleading with him as well as our officer. The officer tried to get a safe blockade between him and the suspect. The suspect continued to advance and after multiple pleas with him, the second officer arrives about this time. And the individual clearly rushes towards both officers that are now standing there and, uh, at a very unsafe distance and they it that there was no choice but to return with, or to shoot at the individual.”
The deputies were not injured.
After reviewing body camera footage, the sheriff believes the man was known to deputies. Other homeless people in the area said he was making suicidal and homicidal comments that morning. His identity will be released at a later time.
You know it’s a terrible, horrific tragedy. Brought on by this individual, it was solely a random act. I mean, this is not anything that we could have foreseen and everyone tried to, including the poor victim to try and plead with him to put the knife down telling him it’s not worth it. It’s not worth it. You know mental illness is a problem, and especially when innocent people are harmed because of it.Sheriff Eric Aden, Okaloosa County
The victim was taken to the hospital for treatment and will be ok.
Both deputies have been placed on administrative leave with pay while the State Attorney’s Office investigates.
“You can hear both of our officers trying to plead with him to put the theweapon down. We already have one injured individual. Thankfully, he actually went towards another individual, thankfully he retreated before going to that individual and we were able to engage him and stop any further violence towards our officers or any innocent visitors or citizens here in Okaloosa County.”Sheriff Eric Aden, Okaloosa County
UPDATE (11:02 a.m.): Officials with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office have confirmed that the shooting was fatal.
The possible shooting took place at the boardwalk on Okaloosa Island. According to officials, this happened while there was a disturbance involving a machete. No other information is available at this time.
This is a developing story. WKRG News 5 is working to gather more information. We will update this story as more information becomes available.