The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is investigating Alachua County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) deputies who shot and killed an allegedly suicidal man who pointed a shotgun at them.
According to an ACSO social media release posted Tuesday, deputies were called to 17607 NW County Road 231 in the unincorporated area of Gainesville at 6:12 p.m. on Monday by a female who was concerned about the mental well-being of her husband.
Prior to the ACSO deputies arriving, it was learned that the male – later identified as 58-year-old Wendell H. Chastain – had sent messages to family members telling them he wanted to end his life. The reason was Chastain was concerned over a recent warrant issued for his arrest on the charge of a probation violation.
Deputies located Chastain sitting alone in his truck in a heavily wooded area. According to the deputies, Chastain made several statements that he had a shotgun he was going to grab.
The deputies requested the ACSO Negotiations Response Team to de-escalate the situation.
While attempting to establish a verbal dialogue with Chastain, deputies observed that the subject showed signs of impairment, which concerned them with his operation of a vehicle.
Before the crisis negotiators arrived, Chastain left the scene in his truck. Deputies attempted to conduct a traffic stop but Chastain failed to stop. He finally stopped at his residence and exited his truck brandishing a shotgun and pointing it in the direction of the deputies.
According to the release, deputies instructed Chastain to drop the shotgun, but he failed to comply with their instructions. The four deputies on scene discharged their firearms and incapacitated Chastain. The deputies rendered medical aid to Chastain while requesting emergency medical services. Chastain was pronounced deceased on scene.
Alachua County Sheriff Clovis Watson Jr. requested FDLE investigate the incident. The deputies involved were placed on paid administrative leave and have been afforded legal counsel through the Police Benevolent Association, according to the release.
Since each deputy is the victim of an aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer, their identities are not being provided under Marcy’s Law protections.