KEYSTONE HEIGHTS, Fla. – Two Clay County deputies shot and critically injured a 47-year-old man who pointed a shotgun at one of them Friday afternoon outside of Keystone Heights, the sheriff said.
The deputy-involved shooting occurred just after 2 p.m. at a home on Lake Echo Ridge Road, a dirt road off County Road 219 between Keystone Heights and Melrose.
Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels said two deputies responded to the residence after receiving calls from neighbors saying a man, later identified as George Robert Nelson, was firing a pump shotgun.
When deputies arrived, Daniels said, Nelson came out of the home and deputies took up defensive positions and tried to get him to drop the firearm.
"The guy, eventually, levels the shotgun in the direction of one of the responding deputies, and they also responded with deadly force," Daniels said a media briefing early Friday evening.
Both deputies fired an undetermined amount of shots at Nelson, hitting him multiple times, according to the Clay County Sheriff's Office.
Nelson was airlifted to UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, where he was in critical condition at last check.
"His condition is 'still alive,'" Daniels said. "The deputies involved are fine."
The deputies -- a 17-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office and another who has been with the force for three to five years -- have been placed on administration leave, Daniels said. Their names have not yet been released.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement was called to investigate, which is standard procedure for officer-involved shootings.
"That's kind of surprising to me. You're probably asking for some trouble when your pointing a gun at deputies," said Scott Osteen, who has called the area home for 15 years.
Neighbors told News4Jax that nothing like Friday's incident had ever happened before in the quiet and rural area.
"Hopefully, never again," said Dean Slocumb, who has lived on the road for 20 years.
When he first heard the gunshots, Slocumb said, he thought the sounds were just from someone target practicing.
"I was in the backyard and heard a shot and then there was a pause and then I heard about three or more shots and then an hour later, the deputies were here," he said. "I'm just thankful for our deputies."
Slocumb also added that he was thankful none of his other neighbors were hurt.
"Anytime you have someone shooting a weapon like that, albeit rural, anybody in the surrounding area nearby is in harm's way," Daniels said.