PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – A 77-year-old man shot his adult son after the son brutally attacked his father in a drunken rage, according to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.
The son, who was identified by deputies as 56-year-old Roger Deal, is charged with domestic battery by strangulation, assault on a person older than 65 and burglary.
Deal is being held in the Putnam County jail without bond because deputies said he is considered a threat to his father.
Deal's father told News4Jax on Tuesday that his son had been in a physical altercation with someone else at a nearby restaurant before his son showed up Sunday night on his Crescent City driveway.
That's where, the 77-year-old told deputies, he confronted his intoxicated son.
"I’ve seen him drunk many times. We’ve had confrontations, but this was different," said the father, who News4Jax has chosen not to name.
According to deputies, the confrontation between father and son turned violent.
“Threw his father to the ground, he restricted his airway enough to where we developed a charge of domestic battery by strangulation," said Col. Joseph Wells, with the Sheriff's Office.
The father said he was also thrown over a couch and slammed against a wall before he was able to run into the house to get his gun.
According to the offense report, Deal had verbally threatened to kill his father and was told to leave. But his father said Deal charged at him.
“I thought he was going to try and kill me," the father said.
The father said he fired a warning shot toward the ground.
"Some fragments from the shotgun round ricocheted off the concrete and hit the suspect in the foot," Wells said.
News4Jax has learned that Deal was actually struck in both feet. His injuries were treated at Putnam County Community Medical Center before he was booked Monday into jail on the three felony charges.
Deal’s father said he suffered scrapes and bruises, but he will be OK.
As for his son, the father said that Deal suffers from documented mental health problems, which are made worse by alcohol. He said his son needs professional help.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
The confrontation happened just hours before the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
It's an example of why domestic violence is more than fights between boyfriends and girlfriends, and husbands and wives. It's also a problem among family members.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office said it's also an example why the month of October is recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“Domestic violence is one of the most serious crimes we deal with," Wells said.
It's so serious that the Sheriff’s Office now has a special unit that exclusively investigates domestic violence.
“The Sheriff’s Office has investigated 330 cases of domestic violence -- 244 of those have resulted in arrest," Wells said.
Lori Slaven is the executive director of the Lee Conlee House, which is a domestic violence center for women and children.
"We have been pretty full for the last two years, with hardly any break at all," Slaven told News4Jax on Tuesday.
Slaven said many people don’t realize domestic violence is more than just physical altercations.
“If they call you stupid and isolate you from your family and call you names, that’s domestic violence," she said.
Deputies said most people think domestic violence only occurs between partners or spouses.
“We also have otherwise related people like fathers and sons, brothers and sisters," Wells said,
And now, according to Slaven, there’s an emerging domestic violence trend in Putnam County.
“We’re seeing more in the gay community where it’s same-sex partners. This is something you never heard of before," she said. "They are starting to report.”
If you or anyone you know in Putnam County is being victimized by domestic violence, you’re urged to call the 24-hour domestic violence hotline at 386-325-3141.
The Sheriff's Office will also be selling purple domestic violence awareness patches for $8. Most of the proceeds will go to the Lee Conlee House to help pay for expenses.