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Friday, June 14, 2024

Fleeing mental health patient allegedly carrying knife, pepper spray before Ocala police shot him

A 23-year-old man whose family transported him to an Ocala mental health facility on Sunday was allegedly armed with pepper spray and a knife when he fled the scene and was shot and critically injured by local police officers.

The Ocala Police Department is currently investigating the circumstances that led to the officer-involved shooting on Sunday, May 19.

According to OPD, officers responded to a call for service at around 12:20 p.m. in regards to a man who was being taken to The Vines Hospital, which is located at 3130 SW 27th Ave in Ocala, by his family members.

Man critically injured in officer involved shooting in Ocala on May 19, 2024 (photo by OPD)
OPD officers at the scene of an officer-involved shooting that critically wounded a man on Sunday, May 19. (Photo: Ocala Police Department)

Before they arrived at the scene, officers were told the man began “acting erratic” and had fled the area. Responding officers conducted a search for the individual and found him about 20 minutes after they received the initial call.

According to a statement issued by OPD on Sunday evening, the man, who has not been identified by police, was armed with “pepper spray and a knife” when officers made contact with him, posing an “immediate threat.”

That prompted officers to respond with “deadly force,” according to OPD.

After he was shot, the man was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

On Sunday evening, the department reported that the man is out of surgery, but still required “additional pending medical procedures.” Police say he is in serious condition.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement responded to the site of the shooting and the incident remains under investigation.