DeLAND, Fla. — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and the DeLand Police Department after law enforcement officers shot and killed a man in DeLand.
The shooting was reported around 5:06 p.m. Sunday at North Amelia Avenue and Old Daytona Road.
A woman called 911, saying a Mario Simoes, 45, was drinking and suicidal at a law firm at 919 Biscayne Boulevard. The caller said Simoes was distraught over the couple's marital issues.
As DeLand police arrived at the scene, the gunman was firing at the building and officers, investigators said.
Deputies said Simoes got in a Mercedes and sped away. Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said the man was going 100 mph when he hit stop sticks at Amelia Avenue and Old Daytona Road, got two flat tires and crashed into innocent bystanders in a white pickup truck; those bystanders were not seriously hurt.
"They (were) rear-ended and knocked into the air," Chitwood said.
Chitwood said after Simoes crashed the Mercedes, he got out of the vehicle and appeared to have reloaded his gun. After the Simoes ignored officers' repeated requests to drop the weapon, they fired at him and killed him.
A prelimary investigation showed deputies and police told Simoes to drop the gun or show his hands more than 30 times in a span of about two minutes, investigators said.
“We have three independent witnesses who say it felt like two minutes. They just kept hearing deputies and DeLand police officers saying, ‘Drop the gun, drop the gun, drop the gun,’ before he was fatally shot,” Chitwood told reporters at a news conference.
Two deputies, Bryant Lickiss, 26, and Sgt. Mike Chilcot, 49, and a DeLand officer, Jason Floryance fired at the man, investigators said. The law enforcement officers have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation, which is standard procedure.
Lickiss has been with the sheriff's office since 2014, Chilcot since 1993.
Floryance has been with the DeLand Police Department since 2005.
Acting DeLand police Chief Randel Henderson said the agency’s police officers receive training annually on how to handle situations involving people who are suicidal, but ultimately law enforcement officials have to make quick decisions.
“We deal with the complexities of human behavior,” he said. “We never know at any given time what someone’s thinking, what’s going to punch their buttons and what’s going to make them react. (Officers and deputies) very quickly have to look at a scenario that unfolds around them and act accordingly."
Chitwood said they found at least one weapon inside the Mercedes. He also said there was body camera video of the shooting that investigators are reviewing.
"None of us are trained to come to work and kill anybody. We're trained to come to work to help people," Chitwood said.
FDLE is investigating 9 officer-involved shootings this year.
Watch the news conference regarding the shooting below:
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