Distraught and Armed Man Talked from Tree Stand

Tree Stand

On Friday January 20, 2017 at approximately 1:50 pm, Putnam County Sheriff’s Office patrol deputies responded to 1195 Bardin Road in reference to the report of a 65-year-old white male indicating he wished to harm himself. The subject took a handgun and a shotgun and went into a wooded area behind his residence. Family members located the subject in a tree stand in a densely wooded part of the property but he refused to come down firing a single shot into the air and demanding they leave.

Members of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team and Crisis Intervention negotiators responded. A perimeter was established to ensure the man didn’t slip away into the woods and an armored vehicle was moved into position to provide negotiators cover from which to begin a dialog with the subject. The subject remained uncooperative and began to periodically fire shots from both the handgun and shotgun. Approximately a dozen shots were fired by the subject over a period of several hours after deputies arrived.

Eventually, the negotiators were able to talk the subject out of the tree stand and into putting the shotgun aside. However, the subject became uncooperative again and began moving into heavy brush while still armed with the handgun. The man eventually shot himself in the right shoulder before putting down the weapon and complying with commands to leave the wooded area and move toward the deputies.

The subject was then secured without any use of force and immediately provided with medical attention for the self- inflicted wound. The subject was then ground transported to Orange Park Medical Center by rescue personnel. His wound did not appear to be life threatening.

Sheriff Gator DeLoach was at the scene throughout the incident and was an active participant in the command of the operation. In reference to the incident, Sheriff DeLoach said “This was a very difficult operation. Approaching a heavily armed subject in his own tree stand makes for a very dangerous situation. He had the advantage of elevation and sightlines and was in an area he obviously knows like the back of his hand. Our Crisis negotiators did a fabulous job in coaxing him out of the stand and into discarding the shotgun. I am also extremely pleased and impressed with the compassion and restraint shown by all the deputies involved especially during the periods when the subject was actively shooting. The entire operation reflects extremely well on both their training and professionalism. I could not be more proud of everyone involved. My thanks to them for a job well done.”


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