OKALUSA ISLAND, Florida. (WKRG) – UPDATE 13:30. — Okaloosa County deputies shot and killed a homeless man with a machete Friday morning on Okaloosa Island, according to Sheriff Eric Aden.
A suspect stabbed a man arriving from Georgia minutes before police arrived. The incident happened around 8:15 am.
Sheriff Aden said there were calls about a man seen walking around threatening suicide and murder on people on the boardwalk.
The sheriff said a suspect in his 30s stabbed a man walking along the beach with his wife. The woman managed to get away, the man received cuts on the back of his shoulder and arm.
Sheriff Aden said police officers arrived around 8:14 am and begged the man to put down the machete. The man refused and charged the deputies. Two officers opened fire and the suspect died on the deck of the pavilion.
“Our first officer arrived here at the end of the promenade, took up this subject, ran away with it several times. Moved away from him to a safe distance, trying to keep him at a safe distance, which was difficult,” said Sheriff Eric Aden. “The person went back and forth and gave away or owned a machete. The man who had been cut, the wounded tourist was on deck pleading with him and also with our officer. The officer attempted to establish a secure blockade between him and the suspect. The suspect continues to move forward, and after numerous requests, a second officer arrives around this time. And the man obviously rushes towards both officers who are now standing there, and, uh, at a very unsafe distance, and they had no choice but to return with him or shoot the man.
The deputies were not hurt.
After examining footage from body cameras, the sheriff believes that the man was known to the police. Other homeless people in the area said he made suicidal and murderous comments that morning. His identity will be revealed later.
You know, it’s a terrible, terrible tragedy. Produced by this man, it was a purely random action. I mean, it’s not something we could have foreseen and everyone tried, including the poor victim, to try and beg him to put the knife down, telling him it wasn’t worth it. It’s not worth it. You know that mental illness is a problem, especially when innocent people suffer because of it.
Sheriff Eric Aden, Okaloosa County
The victim was taken to the hospital for treatment and is doing well.
Both deputies have been placed on administrative leave with pay while prosecutors investigate.
“You can hear both of our officers trying to beg him to put down his guns. We already have one wounded. Luckily he actually went to the other person, luckily he stepped back before going to that person and we were able to engage him and stop any further violence against our officers or any innocent visitors or citizens here in Ocalus…