NewsTreasure CoastRegion Indian River County


Deputies fatally shoot man who tried to stab them at Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital

Sheriff says man, who had been involuntarily admitted under Florida's Baker Act, 'committed suicide by cop'
Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital shooting 032622
Posted at 9:42 AM, Mar 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-27 20:45:57-04

VERO BEACH, Fla. — A man was fatally shot by Indian River County Sheriff's Office deputies at Clinic Cleveland Indian River Hospital on Saturday night after he attempted to stab deputies with scissors, Sheriff Eric Flowers said.

Several deputies were present in the hallway of the emergency room just before 10:30 p.m. when a 29-year-old man rose up from a hospital bed in the hallway, grabbed scissors and ran down the hall, Flowers said.

"The 29-year-old white male who had been in there makes a decision to stand up from his gurney," Flowers told reporters during a Sunday afternoon news conference. "He grabs a pair of scissors, large scissors, and he's running through the hospital."

The four deputies present in the hallway heard the commotion and chased the man wielding the scissors, Flowers said.

"As they close in on him, he turns, raises the scissors up above his head," Flowers said. "At that point, our deputies begin to retreat back. Again, a small narrow hallway, gurneys, all kinds of stuff in there. They draw their weapons and two of the deputies fire, shooting and killing this man."

The suspect was brought to the hospital Friday by his family and was being held under Florida's Baker Act. Flowers said the man had attempted to hang himself and had multiple cuts on his wrists and legs.

Shooting at Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital on March 26, 2022

The time between when deputies saw the man jump from his bed and grab the scissors and when the deputies fired at him was five seconds, Flowers said.

"It's a terrible tragedy, not just in our county, but in our country. We're facing a mental health crisis," Flowers said. "The fact that we were up there taking people in for suicidal incidents for Baker Acts, that they had multiple Baker Act patients awaiting transportation to a facility because there's not enough beds, and the fact that this gentleman had been waiting there for a day and a half shows what kind of mental health crisis we're in right now."

Flowers praised the training and quick thinking of the deputies in the hallway and offered condolences to the family of the man.

"And, of course, our condolences to the family," Flowers said. "You know, this is a terrible situation. My understand is he had been going through a breakup. He had been suicidal and had tried to hang himself. He had tried to hurt himself multiple ways and, unfortunately, he successfully committed suicide by cop."