FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – A man was taken into custody under the Baker Act after creating a situation involving a fake gun, his mother and a deputy outside the Flagler County Courthouse Tuesday, according to the Sheriff's Office.
The Flagler County Sheriff's Office said a deputy assigned to the courthouse approached the driver's side of a Nissan after hearing ongoing argument in the parking lot.
The deputy said when he approached the car, driven by the mother of a 21-year-old man inside the car, the mother warned the deputy that her son had a gun. The deputy went for cover and drew his gun.
The Sheriff's Office said the mother was able to grab the gun from her son and toss it out the driver's side window. She and her son were then directed to get out of the car with their hands up.
Deputies said the gun turned out to be a toy, but looked identical to a functioning weapon.
The woman told deputies she had been driving around the courthouse parking lot trying to get their attention out of concern for her son.
Deputies said statements the 21-year-old made indicated he may have been trying to commit "suicide by cop."
The man was taken into custody under the state's Baker Act and will be receiving mental health treatment.
"This situation could have ended tragically," Sheriff Rick Staly said. "Our deputies showed great restraint in de-escalating the situation instead of engaging the subject. Our deputies did exactly what they were trained to do and I am very proud of them."