ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A St. Johns County deputy who fired a handgun multiple times during a domestic argument Monday night in Ponte Vedra Beach has been charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and was terminated, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Napolian Staggers, 48, appeared before a judge Tuesday morning and had his bond set at $25,000. He bonded out and was ordered to wear a GPS monitor and to have no contact with the victim.
The Sheriff’s Office said after reviewing the facts of the incident, the sheriff decided to “separate” Staggers’ employment with the Sheriff’s Office, effective Tuesday.
“What he did for 16 years will be overshadowed by this action that can not be condoned,” Sheriff’s Office spokesman Chuck Mulligan said.
Staggers was known in the department and in the community for helping people, which is why his arrest for the incident Monday night left colleagues stunned.
“Most everyone that I know -- and I speak for myself -- it’s unexpected that I would be talking about this today about him,” Mulligan said. “They know that we are held to a higher standard, as we should be in society, but sometimes people do things out of that policy.”
According to his arrest report, Staggers came home to his apartment, where he lives with the victim, drunk and passed out in the bedroom around 8 p.m. Monday. The victim came into the room half an hour later and an argument started over where Staggers had been.
During the argument, the report said, Staggers stormed over and slapped the victim open-handed two to three times in the face.
When the victim tried to call a family member for help, Staggers followed, got out his handgun from a holster and fired rounds into the air, ground and around both sides of the victim’s head, the report said.
The victim’s toes on both feet were struck by the gunfire, leaving the victim with a broken toe and other injuries.
According to the victim, Staggers reloaded the magazine to fire more rounds but the victim was able to leave through the front door and ran to a neighbor’s home to call 911.
Deputies said Staggers admitted to firing the gun and said he’d blacked out.
The victim was released from a hospital Tuesday morning and will be OK.
News4Jax does not report the identities of domestic violence victims, and because of Marsy’s Law neither the victim’s gender nor age were released by the Sheriff’s Office.
Florida law protects law enforcement officers from having their mugshots released to the public.
Staggers has had no previous disciplinary issues while working for the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office for the last 17 years. He was a patrol shift leader for the last two years before becoming a traffic coordinator in 2020.
If you or someone you know is or has been a victim of domestic violence or abuse, there are resources available:
- The Florida Domestic Violence Hotline, which will direct you to the nearest shelter, is 1-800-500-1119;
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline is open 24 hours a day. The number is 1-800-799-SAFE;
- The Micah’s Place (Nassau County) Domestic Violence Help Hotline is 904-225-9979;
- The Hubbard House in Jacksonville can be reached by dialing 904-354-3114;
- The hotline number of Quigley House in Clay County is 904-284-0340;
- The Betty Griffin Center in St. Johns County can be reached at 904-824-1555