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Man who threatened “suicide by cop” is safe after ASO negotiators persuade him to surrender

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

The situation was tense Saturday evening at a Williston Road hotel, where a man had told his family he intended to commit “suicide by cop.” Around 5:40 p.m. on June 20, a person came to the Sheriff’s Office to report that a family member was having a mental crisis and had threatened to attempt to commit suicide by cop. The man had sent photos to his family, showing a firearm and several different drugs, and had said he was staying in a hotel off Williston Road.

The man had recently been released from a crisis care facility after being committed under the Marchman Act from Levy County. According to the family member, he had been released because he kept breaking items at the facility.

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Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene and established a perimeter while Negotiations Team members tried to establish communications. The man had apparently turned off his cell phone and taken the room phone off the hook, so repeated calls went unanswered.

Deputies called all the other occupied rooms on the floor and made sure they were all evacuated before they approached the man’s room. After the SWAT Unit arrived, they persuaded the man to come to the door, where he spoke with them briefly before retreating into the room and closing the door. A few minutes later, officers with the SWAT Unit were able to successfully negotiate with him to surrender, and he was safely taken into custody and transported to a local hospital for medical treatment.

Narcotics and a loaded Smith and Wesson .40 caliber handgun with a laser sight were found in the man’s room.

An APC (armored personnel carrier) was brought to a nearby property to support the effort to safely bring the man out of the hotel room. APCs are used to transport personnel into or out of the “hot” zone. The APC is also used for any type of rescue that may need to be made (civilian/deputies) where there is a concern for life and the dangers of the situation require a safe vehicle. It is equipped with medical first aid items, as well as items the SWAT Unit uses. It can quickly extract injured civilian/deputies to a safe area in a safe manner.

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