FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A St. Lucie County deputy was forced to shoot an "extremely aggressive" man in the buttocks on the North Causeway Bridge in Fort Pierce on Tuesday, authorities said.
The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office said the deputy was driving on North A1A just after 4 p.m. when she spotted a man in distress at the top of the bridge.
The deputy went to check on the man, who claimed he wanted to jump off the bridge and kill himself for "things that he did," the sheriff's office said.
The deputy tried to calm the man down, however, he became "extremely aggressive" and a "violent struggle ensued," according to authorities.
During the struggle, the deputy shot the man once in the buttocks. He was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries and was later arrested on multiple charges.
The sheriff's office said the deputy has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard in cases where a law enforcement officer discharges his or her weapon.
Sheriff Ken Mascara said one of his deputies noticed a man standing outside the railing.
“He appeared to be in an extreme distress," Mascara said.
The deputy stopped, and Mascara said, tried to coax him down.
"He appeared very, very distraught and he was making comments that the deputy became exceptionally concerned about," Mascara said.
Comments, according to the sheriff’s office, like he wanted to jump and kill himself for "things that he did."
“They’re still looking into those comments and what he meant by those," Mascara said.
The man did jump, but only about six feet down and onto concrete since the deputy was able to coax him to a lower elevation first.
But Mascara said the man pulled a knife out of his pocket or waistband and started running.
The deputy had already called for backup, and one of those deputies used a Taser twice to get the man to stop, but he was unphased.
The man was suspected to have been on drugs at the time.
"The subject could not be stopped even after the deployment of the Taser and, in fact, tried to take the deputy’s Taser," Mascara said.
Mascara said the first deputy who made it to the scene is the one who ended up shooting the man in the backside.
Deputies identified him as Dylan De Reivera. He was treated and arrested on charges of resisting arrest, aggravated assault, and battery on a law enforcement officer.
"The focus here was they were trying to protect themselves and the general public. There’s the evidence, there’s the knife," Mascara said.
Mascara said De Reveira does have an extensive criminal history.
"I just know the deputy stepped out with him in a total effort to deescalate him, render aid to him, get him to a mental health facility, and it just turned very violent very quickly," Mascara said.
The deputy who fired the shot is on paid leave and will be interviewed Monday.
Mascara said this is only the latest encounter for his deputies facing someone struggling with their mental health.
"31 incidents this weekend, 10 of which were mental health issues that our deputies dealt with," Mascara said. "There’s a lot of mental health issues in our community. No doubt.”