Deputies: Standoff ends in death in St. Johns County


ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A SWAT standoff in St. Johns County has ended with an apparent suicide, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies responded to Cabbage Hammock Road at Raulerson Road just after 8 a.m. Tuesday because of reports of a disoriented man lying in a ditch.

When deputies arrived, the man was not in the ditch and had barricaded himself inside his home. No one else was in the home with the man, deputies said.

"Two distinct shots were heard," said Sgt. J. Priester.

The man was found dead inside the home, and deputies believe it's possible the man shot himself. They are not releasing the man's name yet.

Four nearby homes were evacuated because of the standoff. Neighbors said they were asked to stay in their homes and then about 30 to 45 minutes later were asked to evacuate the area.

"We saw the police come by and we came out to check," neighbor Herb Volk said. "My girlfriend heard two shots. … This is a quiet street. We never had problems down here. When we saw the police coming down, we got a little concerned."

Deputies set up a perimeter to make sure everyone in the area was safe.

Neighbors said the man lived in the area for about three years.

"I'm concerned for the parents. Sorry for their great loss," said Rose Hall, Volk's girlfriend. "He was quiet. He was a very quiet person."

Investigators tried to call the man on his cellphone, but there was no response, deputies said.

The SWAT team responded to the scene, but no shots were fired by deputies. They said it's unclear if the man fired at deputies or if the two shots deputies heard were what killed the man.

The man was found dead inside the home about three hours after the initial 911 call about the man in the ditch.

Officials said they've contacted the man's family, and relatives told police they had been concerned about the man's welfare.

The homicide unit has been called in to investigate.

"We're going to start out (the investigation) as a homicide," SJCSO Director Chris Strickland said. "However, we have confirmed when we went inside (that) he was the only person inside. There was no sign of anybody else being inside."