PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. (WKRG) — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement began investigating after an Escambia County Sheriff’s deputy shot a suspect at Pensacola Beach early Friday morning, according to an official Facebook post by the Sheriff’s Office.
According to the post, deputies “made contact with a grand theft auto suspect,” Ryan Bass, 25, who was traveling on foot at 4:37 a.m. on Via Luna Drive. The Sheriff’s Office said the suspect “pulled a knife and aggressively approached” deputies, “forcing a deputy to shoot.”
“They pulled up to him, instructed him to stop. He immediately within probably 10 seconds — he stopped and put the book bag over his shoulder,” said Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons. “He reached into the backpack. He pulled a knife — about a 10-inch knife. He got close enough to where the deputies thought their life was in danger and they fired and shot him in the hand.”
The suspect was taken to an area hospital and treated for “non-life threatening injuries.” No deputies were injured in the incident.
Simmons said his deputies are trained in de-escalation and never want to have to fire their weapons.
“They fire to protect themselves,” he said. “Again, we’re lucky that no deputies were injured. I’m glad no one lost their life in this encounter.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates officer-involved shooting incidents. The deputy who fired the shot at Bass will be placed on paid administrative leave while the FDLE conducts its investigation.