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Deputy shoots, kills man who lunged at him with pair of butcher knives, sheriff says

Sheriff’s Office was called to the home because man had made threats to harm himself, Sheriff Bill Leeper says

A Nassau County deputy shot and killed a man Saturday afternoon who lunged at him with a large butcher knife in each hand, Sheriff Bill Leeper said.
A Nassau County deputy shot and killed a man Saturday afternoon who lunged at him with a large butcher knife in each hand, Sheriff Bill Leeper said.

YULEE, Fla. – A Nassau County deputy shot and killed a man Saturday afternoon who lunged at him with a large butcher knife in each hand, Sheriff Bill Leeper said.

The deputy had been called to a home on Diamond Street in Yulee about 1:30 p.m. because of reports that a man had been threatening to harm himself, Leeper said.

Leeper said when the deputy arrived, he was able to speak with the man through the small window of a side door, but the man became agitated and cursed at the deputy, who said he was there to check on him and just wanted to talk.

Leeper said the man asked the deputy if he was by himself. The deputy said he had back-up on the way, but he just wanted to talk, and the man told the deputy to “get ready” before busting through the door with a large butcher knife in each hand, Leeper said.

“The deputy told him to stop, you know, ‘Don’t come any further.’ He lunged after him. The deputy shot him,” Leeper said.

The Sheriff’s Office declined to provide details about the number of shots the deputy fired or the number of times the man was hit.

The man died at the scene. He was 39 years old.

No one else was inside the home, and the deputy was not injured.

“Obviously, he had some anger issues and was dealing with a lot of things,” Leeper said of the man who died.

He said law enforcement had been called to the man’s home before and the man had been arrested previously for violent offenses.

Saraeh Graham said she lived with the man and his wife on and off for two years in the home off Diamond Street. She said he had violent tendencies.

Graham eventually moved out because she was scared for her life.

“Tried to give him help, and it didn’t work,” Graham said.

A News4Jax search of court records found the man was previously arrested for resisting an officer with violence in 2017 -- he was ultimately adjudicated guilty in that case.

The man was arrested again in 2019, this time for domestic battery. Eventually, the State Attorney’s Office chose not to pursue that case.

Graham said she’s shocked at what happened to her old roommate.

“It’s heartbreaking to know that all of that has led up to this,” Graham said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the shooting, and the deputy will be placed on administrative leave and will be evaluated before he returns to work.

Leeper said the deputy has been on the job for about nine years and this was his first officer-involved shooting.

“You never know when you get a call what you’re going to. This is something that turned into something deadly real quickly,” Leeper said. “Thankfully the officer was not injured.”


About the Author:

Brie Isom joined the News4JAX team in January 2021 after spending three years covering news in South Bend, Indiana.