43ºF

Man killed in SWAT standoff remembered as loving father

Deputies say man was 'suicidal'

photo

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – The family of a formerly enlisted U.S. Marine, who was shot and killed by a SWAT deputy Saturday in Lake Asbury, will remember him as a loving man, husband and father. 

The Clay County Sheriff's Office said deputies were called to home on Citation Drive Saturday afternoon for a possible suicide threat, and that when they arrived, they heard gunfire inside the home.

RELATED: Police: Man shot, killed by deputies after shots fired

During negotiations lasting several hours, Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler said that eventually, Billy D. Smith, 31, came out of the home and took aim at a SWAT deputy across the street. That's when the deputy fired one shot at Smith, killing him, Beseler said.

Smith's family, who were too distraught to speak in front of a camera, told New4Jax Monday that their loved one would not try to harm a deputy. 

The family said Smith suffered from mental illness, but he was not the type of man that would shoot at an law enforcement officer. Smith needed help, not death, his family said. 

Family members said it's a very emotional time for them, and that Monday was the first time they returned to the home where he died. 

Smith had four years of infantry service as a Marine.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has been called in to investigate, which is standard procedure. The deputy involved in the shooting is a seven year veteran with the sheriff's office. It's the first time he's been involved in a shooting.


About the Author: