NewsTreasure CoastRegion Martin CountyPalm City


Man with multiple weapons, armor-piercing ammo shot and killed by Martin County SWAT Team, authorities say

MCSO: Justin Caldwell, 47, pointed rifle at SWAT Team during standoff
Posted at 9:55 AM, Oct 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-08 17:52:37-04

PALM CITY, Fla. — A man armed with multiple weapons and armor-piercing ammunition was shot and killed by a SWAT Team on Thursday in Martin County after pointing a rifle at deputies, authorities say.

The sheriff's office said a woman called 911 at 7:07 a.m., claiming her husband, Justin Caldwell, 47, was armed and dangerous at their home in the 2000 block of SW Racquet Club Drive in Palm City.

"Long guns, rifles, shotguns, and handguns, possibly multiple handguns," Chief Deputy Robert Seaman said. "Had a numerous amount of magazines, ammunition and even armor-pierce ammunition."


News conference about SWAT Team shooting in Palm City

MCSO's SWAT Team responded to the scene and got Caldwell's wife and two daughters, ages 13 and 11, out of the house safely.

Seaman said a crisis negotiation team made contact with Caldwell in an attempt to get him out safely, but was unsuccessful.

"At some point, the subject comes out into the driveway area and actually approaches our officers' location with a rifle in hand," Seaman said.

The SWAT Team then asked Caldwell to drop his weapon.

"At some point, the subject points the weapon, a rifle, long gun type weapon, at our SWAT Team. They are forced to defend themselves," Seaman said. "They fire on the subject."

Caldwell was struck and taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the sheriff's office said.

According to Seaman, there is no history of domestic violence involving Caldwell, and it appears he legally possessed all the firearms.

"The initial information in the call was something about them separating or getting divorced or a separation of that effect," Seaman said. "The wife relayed multiple times that [Caldwell's] intent was to engage and be shot himself."

Exclusive video from WPTV Chopper 5 showed multiple deputy cruisers, a sheriff's office mobile command unit, a crime scene van, a fire truck and an ambulance at the scene.


Chopper 5 video of SWAT Team shooting in Martin County

Seaman said multiple deputies involved in the shooting will be placed on administrative leave, which is standard in cases where law enforcement officers fire their weapons.

The FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement have both been contacted about the shooting, authorities said.