Deputies cleared in fatal shooting of woman

Published On: Aug 29 2012 04:39:38 PM EDT
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has cleared St. Johns County Sheriff's Office deputies in the fatal shooting of a woman in April.

Andrea Sheldon, 46, refused to drop a shotgun at her home off County Road 214 and was shot and killed by deputies, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Investigators said Sheldon's husband, Rick Sheldon, fled from his home into the surrounding woods. After he fled, he called a command member at his place of employment and reported that he fled his home because he and his wife had an argument that resulted in her "chasing" him with a "gun," according to investigators.

Rick Sheldon also said that he was "hiding" in the woods and the command member reported that he was "crying" and "carrying on." The command member also reported that Rick Sheldon said he "could not take it anymore."

Prior to deputies arriving, the Sheriff's Office learned that in addition to Andrea Sheldon possibly being armed, Rick Sheldon was also armed, according to investigators.

Rick Sheldon reported to others that he was consuming intoxicants, investigators said. Deputies responded to locate Rick Sheldon somewhere in the surrounding woods to make sure he was alright.

Deputies also responded to the couple's home to check on Andrea Sheldon, who they said had "chased" after him with a "gun," according to investigators.

During the ordeal, Rick Sheldon sent text messages to his wife, one of which read, "Don't shoot the cops on the property," and another read, "Are you having a good time with the cops?" according to investigators.

Andrea Sheldon walked out of the home with a shotgun and was repeatedly told by deputies to drop the weapon, investigators said. They said one deputy tripped and fell as he was seeking protection, and Andrea Sheldon aimed the shotgun directly at the fallen deputy. It was then that the fallen deputy and his colleagues opened fire on her, investigators said.

The deputies performed first aid in an attempt to assist Andrea Sheldon, who had just threatened them with a shotgun, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Rick Sheldon was eventually found in the woods, where he had built a fire, according to investigators. They said he was armed with two weapons and appeared to be under the influence of intoxicants.

"This is truly a tragic case for many involved," Sheriff David Shoar wrote in a memo after the shooting. "On a personal level, this case has been difficult because in addition to knowing that our deputies had to endure an extremely dangerous encounter, I knew Ms. Sheldon personally. Ms. Sheldon was the hospice nurse who assisted my father in his final days before his death in December 2011. Ms. Sheldon was in fact a wonderful caregiver in her role as a hospice nurse and our family became very close with her during those few days in December. Our hearts and prayers go out to the magnificent men and women of Community Hospice of Northeast Florida."