A Cocoa Beach police officer shot and wounded a man outside a 7-Eleven convenience store Wednesday afternoon following a physical confrontation, police said.
The wounded man, Olivier H. Babadjide, 30, of Merritt Island, was shot twice in the torso following an altercation with Officer Ron Betts, said Cocoa Beach police Maj. Jay Harmon. Officials said the man was in stable condition following surgery and was expected to recover.
Betts was treated at the scene and later taken to a hospital for evaluation, Harmon said.
Gunfire erupted outside the store at the corner of Manatee Lane and State Road A1A about 3:05 p.m. Harmon said 7-Eleven employees called police.
“The staff had reported he had come on the property and was acting strangely,” Harmon said.
An officer responded to the call, parking his patrol vehicle in front of the store.
The officer confronted the man between his patrol vehicle, the front door of the business and a Redbox movie rental kiosk. Harmon said an altercation followed and witnesses reported seeing Babadjide repeatedly hit Betts.
Witnesses told Local 6 they believe Babajide was high on drugs and that he turned to the officer and said, "You're going to die today."
Betts tried to subdue his attacker with a Taser, but it wasn’t effective, police said.
Betts then drew his gun and shot the man twice, according to police reports.
Babadjide was airlifted to Holmes Regional Medical Center, fire officials said.
Neighbors were shocked to see crime scene tape wrapping the gas pumps outside 7-Eleven and the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office command vehicle parked near their homes.
“It’s scary,” said Burt Ringewald, who has lived in Cocoa Beach for about 1.5 years. “It’s disappointing. My sense is it’s a very safe community.”
Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting, as is standard procedure following an officer-involved incident. Betts has been placed on administrative leave, also standard procedure, pending the outcome of the investigation.
The last officer-involved shooting in Cocoa Beach occurred in January 2003, when an officer shot and wounded a man while investigating a disturbance. Officer Carl Benedetto shot Rene Reuter, 43, after Reuter refused police commands and grabbed a handgun from nearby, according to police reports. The state attorney’s office said Benedetto used justifiable force in the incident.