Monday, March 9, 2009

SHT Headline Says It All: "Deputies Shoot Man Believed To Be Suicidal"

How do you improve on a headline as classic as that?

But, wait; there's more..........

According to the news account, the victim was injured and suicidal, as reported by his girlfriend, so she called Sarasota County 911. That alone tells you that the story will end badly.

While deputies were blanketing Siesta Key looking for the guy, he decides that the best place to lay low is to walk down Siesta Key public beach. Who'd think to look for him there?

He approached a group of teens and pre-teens celebrating a girl's 13th birthday party and asked them for a cigarette. The girl indignantly said they didn't have any cigarettes, saying, "No, we're only 13." Now, if the guy was looking for crack or crystal meth, sure.....

The teenagers said that the guy seemed normal enough and was just looking for a smoke. Well, except for having a bloody arm and shoulder. But, other than that, the kids thought he was just your average schmoe looking to bum a smoke. Makes you wonder what kind of neighborhood these kids live in where guys walk around at night with bloody shirts and ask a bunch of 13-year olds for a cigarette and it doesn't seem suspicious to them.

According to witnesses on the scene, several police cars, a helicopter and a police dog swarmed the beach area, but they didn't deem it necessary to tell inquiring beachgoers who they were looking for or why. No sense alarming the tourists by telling them that you're looking for an injured, suicidal man who may be armed and dangerous. "Just routine, folks. Nothing to see here."

Fortunately for the Sheriff's department, the guy ended up calling 911 himself to report his location, almost two miles away from the beach on Stickney Point Rd. or they would still be looking for him on the beach.

When deputies arrived on the scene, the distraught man appeared to reach for something in his waistband so the deputies, already steamed from missing their 9:00 PM doughnut break, plugged him.

Although they didn't immediately find any weapons on the guy, a later search by Sheriff's deputies found a bazooka and over twenty rounds of ammunition that they say the victim had concealed in his pants, pretty much justifying the shooting.

The victim was transported back to Siesta Key public beach so they could land a Medevac helicopter. And also because that's where the rest of the police department was chillin,' eating birthday cake that they had impounded for evidence.

The party for the 13-year old girl had to wait until after 10:00 PM to leave the beach because of the medical evacuation. Deputies then cited the party goers for breaking curfew.

One of the deputies involved in the shooting is the son of former Sheriff Bill Balkwill's brother-in-law, who, despite failing a field training course, was allowed to stay on the job by Uncle Bill. The course he failed was titled, "How To Cover Your Ass After Shooting An Unarmed Taxpayer." I'm sure there will be a make-up test now.

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