HomeCrimeSheriff briefs public on incident in which ASO Deputies shot and killed suicidal man
Sheriff briefs public on incident in which ASO Deputies shot and killed suicidal man
June 13, 2023
Press release from Alachua County Sheriff’s Office
ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. – On Monday, June 12, at approximately 6:12 p.m., the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Combined Communications Center received a call from a female complainant who was concerned about the mental well-being of her husband. The caller provided the address of 17607 NW County Road 231, which is within the unincorporated area of Gainesville, Florida.
Prior to the initial response of Alachua County Sheriff’s Deputies, it was learned that the male subject, later identified as 58-year-old Wendell H. Chastain, sent messages to several family members stating that he wanted to end his life. Deputies also learned that Chastain was concerned with a recent warrant that was issued for his arrest on the charge of violation of probation.
During this incident, deputies located Chastain sitting inside his truck in a heavily wooded area. Chastain was alone inside the vehicle and made several statements to the deputies that he had a shotgun and that he was going to grab it. Based on the information provided to deputies, the Negotiations Response Team was requested in an effort to de-escalate the situation and provide a positive resolution. During the course of establishing a verbal dialogue with Chastain, deputies observed multiple signs of impairment that concerned them, given Chastain’s operation of a motor vehicle. Prior to the arrival of crisis negotiators, Chastain began driving away.
Deputies attempted to conduct a traffic stop on Chastain, but he failed to stop his vehicle and continued his course of travel, ultimately stopping at his residence. Chastain exited his truck brandishing a shotgun and pointing it in the direction of deputies on scene. Deputies on scene pleaded with Chastain to drop the firearm, giving him numerous verbal commands and directions, but he failed to comply with their requests. Four deputies on scene discharged their agency-issued firearms, incapacitating Chastain and ending the threat of violence. Deputies immediately attempted to render medical aid to Chastain, while requesting the assistance of emergency medical services via radio. Chastain was ultimately pronounced deceased on scene.
As is standard in all deputy-involved shooting incidents, Sheriff Clovis Watson Jr. has requested that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigate this incident. The deputies involved have been placed on paid administrative leave and have been afforded legal counsel through the Police Benevolent Association. Due to each deputy being the victim of an aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer, legal counsel for the deputies involved has invoked the protections afforded under Marsy’s Law, so we are unable to provide their identities at this time.
Sheriff Watson, as well as the men and women of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, understand that any loss of life within the communities that we serve is tragic. We wish to convey our condolences to the family of Mr. Chastain as they grieve his loss.
Sheriff Watson acknowledges the severity of this incident and is thankful that the involved Deputy Sheriffs are free from harm after facing the active threat of imminent violence at the hands of another.
*Please note that all information contained within this briefing is preliminary based upon the facts as we know them. All information within this release is subject to change as additional information is learned*
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