Sheriff briefs public on incident in which ASO Deputies shot and killed suicidal man

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*

  • Wtf!? 🤦‍♂️
    He was obviously mentally off and in need of help. Per the ASO statement he was suicidal, not homicidal. Whether or not the actions taken by ASO were legally acceptable doesn’t matter…this would never be right in a normal society. Change your damn policies

    • Why don’t you tell us what you think the policy for facing a mentally unstable person holding a gun pointed at someone should be.

    • Seems like maybe you should get a shotgun pointed at you and then you can figure out in a split second if the person is suicidal or homicidal. Idiot.

      • Justify it all you want. Still doesn’t make it right.
        Says he was returning to his home. How about backoff…stay the hell away from him until those with psychological knowledge arrive to help. If he offs himself in the meantime then it is what it is. This isn’t the wild west. Idiot.

        • And by the way, I’m not blaming the deputies. I’m just saying they have a retarded policy in regards to suicidal people. This was not an incident that I’d blame on the boots on the ground deputies! What’s so hard about finding common ground in this tragedy?…we can do better as a society. The family and deputies will be forever scarred by this tragedy

          • Suicidal with a gun saying he’s going home where his wife called 911 from… I think the ASO made the right call.

        • So he returned to his residence. Was his wife home. Many times people who are suicidal will take a family member hostage or off them to justify their suicide. Unfortunely when Wendell drove off it completely changed the dynamics of the situation from only being a threat to himself to becoming a threat to the well being of the community. I have dealt with several sudicial people and 99 percent of the time it ends well it’s the 1 percent that goes awry. The deputies have to live with the fact that this guy did commit suicide. Suicide by law enforcement. That will live with these brave deputies for the rest of their lives. This guy could not do it himself and forced the deputies to do it for him.

        • I am pretty sure ASO has a lot of job openings and since you seem to know “all about law enforcement and mental issues” they should hire you on the spot.

    • So I am assuming you think the Deputies should drop their weapons and run up and give a drunk guy holding a rifle pointed at them a hug. Or better yet go into his residence and shoot up his family..

    • I was actually thinking how these officers were way too lenient with this man. It sounds like they didn’t shoot at first even after he pointed a shotgun at them. That may need to be looked at- we don’t need our officers negotiating with a man pointing a gun at them, we need them shooting this kind of man immediately.

    • From the account of what happened, the deceased was “not normal” in this society.

      However tragic the outcome, it was either them or him. They made the logical decision based on the condition/threat they were facing.

      • “Not normal”? Wtf makes you think that? He was a very kind, funny, well loved, hard working man who happened to have become severely depressed. He reached the bottom of the lowest point and his depression had completely over taken him.

    • When a man points a shotgun at you it’s clear what his intentions are.

  • So sad the Officers had to defend themselves and had to kill someone. That is a very unfortunate part of their job. They obviously did not want to shoot him but he gave them no choice. But I am glad the officers get to go home to their families and sorry for the Chastain family.

  • A sharp shooter (sniper) could of rendered that shotgun useless with a strategically placed bullet without killing the guy. Cops always empty there guns into their victims. That’s a minimum of 60 rounds if they were using their handguns. If they had an AR-15 then there is 30 in that one.

    • You watch too many movies. I bet you’ve never even fired a scoped rifle under actual stress. Much less have the magical ability to teleport to situations which require your magical shooting ability in a tenth of a second.

    • Yeah, that’s a one in a million shot. It’s not realistic. Movie stuff.

  • They didn’t have to riddle the guy with bullets. If he wanted to kill himself, oh well. Let him. Or wait it out. Maybe he would of changed his mind. But the police didn’t need to turn him into hamburger meat. Sad for everyone involved. The wife will never trust the police. She will probably have nightmares as well as the police.

    • To the contrary. The police didn’t want to be turned into hamburger meat, hence them turning him into hamburger meat.

    • How do you know how many shots were fire? Just asking. Maybe it was four, maybe it was 8. Who knows. Maybe wait till FDLE releases its findings.

      • It’s the police, mag dumps all around. Likely Glock 17’s so 17+ for each gun fired.

    • You never really know. Sometimes a situation is so bad an end is a good thing even when tragic.

      As for the rounds fired…it gets complicated. There are a lot of variables. It’s nothing like a movie.

  • I love all the arm chair quarterbacking. Suicide situations are a second to second changing situation. One the guy drove off everything changes from a suicidal person only wanting to harm himself to suicidal person who now has the potential to harm others. Its that simple. Bluntly, this guy wanted to end this life and did not have the will or courage to do it himself. He selfishly made and forced the Deputies do it for him. If he wanted help or was reaching out for help he would not gave pointed his weapon at the deputies. He went back to his residence. No one knows what is going through this guys mind. Maybe he returned to the residence to take his wife or other family members with him. These deputies gave to live with this for rest of their lives.

    • This is directed at the “excessive force” conspiracists and the “Hollywood cop movie” followers. This is a suicidal person who pointed a firearm at law enforcement. How many times do you tell someone to drop a gun and not point at law enforcement before the hammer gets dropped? No where in a law enforcment job description says you get shot at first and then you can act.

  • Everyone who thinks that the deputies used excessive force should volunteer to talk down (with their chest exposed up front) the next perp.

  • Did the probationary system keep him and his wife stuck here, or could they have moved to better opportunities elsewhere? I hope the “justice” system isn’t keeping convicts stuck in the same locales they experienced unhappy outcomes in, before… 😢

  • Some of you, have never done a day of patrol in your life….but are clearly experts.

    May I suggest a couple of ride alongs with the locals just to open your eyes?

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