1 dead in deputy-involved shooting in SJC

No deputies were injured in gunfire

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office is investigating after one person was shot and killed by deputies responding to a domestic disturbance call involving an aggravated battery with shots fired at a home on Race Track Road off State Road 16 early Saturday morning,

According to the Sheriff's Office, deputies received a call about a possibly armed suspect around 1:30  a.m. Saturday.  Deputies were told by a female victim that a male had possibly barricaded himself inside a home.  

When deputies arrived, they encountered the armed suspect, later identified as Aaron Ray, 43, who lived in the 2600 block of Race Track Road.  Investigators said they asked Ray to drop his weapon, but he did not, so deputies fired shots.  Ray died at the scene, according to investigators.

The Sheriff's Office would not say whether or not Ray fired at deputies or how many shots were fired by deputies.

"Those are all the issues that we don't know," Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan said. "We certainly have statements but we also like to validate that with the evidence at the scene, so who won't be able to answer those questions until we get back in the structure."

St. Johns County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Aaron Ray from 2011 arrest.
St. Johns County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Aaron Ray from 2011 arrest.

Ray had previous run-ins with the law. He was arrested for battery in 2011 and released from jail. The Clerk of Courts website listed a domestic violence case in 2010 as well.  Court records also show Ray and his wife were going through foreclosure.

SJCSO was trying to get necessary documents on Saturday to complete their investigation.

"At this time everything slows down in the law-enforcement circles," Mulligan said. "There are search warrants that need to be obtained, and as you know it's still the middle of the night, so we have to get the individuals out of bed to help us process the search warrants."

"Once that's done, we will be able to go into the house and confirm and look at statements and compare them to evidence at the scene to match them up and move forward."

The two deputies involved in the shooting are Cpl. Shawn Emert and Deputy Jason Kroul, both members of the Sheriff's Office SWAT.

Neither deputy was injured in the shooting, but both have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

"These are very trying times for the deputies involved, so we have to take care of our people in that regard," Mulligan said.

"We also have our victim advocates here for people who knew this victim who is now deceased. We try to handle this from every angle that we can in an appropriate manner."

Mulligan says the investigation will continue into the day while they collect all of the information that they need from the scene.