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Woman in critical condition after deputy-involved shooting in Martin County

Shooting occurrs near Publix at Ocean Breeze Plaza
Posted at 5:12 PM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-13 08:15:16-05

JENSEN BEACH, Fla. — A 49-year-old Michigan woman is in critical condition after a deputy-involved shooting Tuesday afternoon in Martin County.

The shooting occurred near a Publix in the Ocean Breeze Plaza on Jensen Beach Boulevard.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said the woman's family had reported her as missing and endangered Tuesday afternoon when they had not heard from her for a day.

Watch the Martin County Sheriff's Office news conference below:

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder press conference on deputy-involved shooting

A couple of hours later, Martin County dispatchers received a 911 call from a woman.

"She said she had some kind of trouble, needed the police and then hung up," Snyder said. "[Dispatchers] called back several times."

Because the woman did not answer the calls, dispatchers tracked the phone location to the shopping plaza parking lot. The phone location also matched the description of the missing woman's car.

Snyder said an off-duty deputy noticed the woman's black sport utility vehicle.

"He realizes not only is this the vehicle that we're looking for on the 911 hang up, it's also the vehicle that had been BOLO'ed earlier in the day for a missing and endangered adult," Snyder said.

When the deputy approached the car, he noticed the woman had a knife and severe lacerations to her wrist. He called for medical help.

"He wanted to render first aid," Snyder said. "The woman came out and went after him with a knife."

knife used by woman in deputy-involved shooting in Jensen Beach
This was the knife that Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said the woman was holding when she was shot by a deputy.

A second deputy arrived at the scene and served as a witness to the next events.

"He starts backing up as fast as he can," Snyder said. "As the woman closes the gap, unfortunately, he has no alternative. She's right on top of him."

The deputy fired at least two shots at the woman, and she was flown to a hospital in critical condition.

Snyder said the woman has an extensive background for mental illness.

The sheriff said since the woman is a mentally ill person, she would not be charged with a crime if she survives.

"This was the fourth Baker Act today alone," he said. "This is a very, very common occurrence in modern-day America. This is our modern dilemma. Mental illness is the call of the day."

Snyder said the deputy will be on administrative leave and eventually return to work.