St. Johns deputy responding to call shoots suspect

Sheriff's Office says stabbing suspect refused to drop knife

By Marques White - Reporter, Ashley Harding - Reporter

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - A St. Johns County sheriff's deputy searching for a suspect in a stabbing on Sunrise Boulevard off State Road 207 shortly after 3:30 a.m. Sunday shot a man.

Deputies were responding to a call from a woman who said she was stabbed by a man after opening her front door for him.  A search began for the suspect, who was believed to be in the common areas of Southern Villas, a multifamily housing complex. 

Brenda Cady, has lived in this area for about 20 years and homes surrounded by crime scene tape is an unfamiliar sight for her.

"It's always been real quiet. Never had any problems. It's a close neighborhood... everybody knows everybody," said Brenda Cady.

Gerald Beard is also living in the area and is worried about the situation.

"It makes me feel very concerned and very nervous. There's so much of that going on right now in different places, but it concerns me very much," said Beard.

Investigators said that a St. Johns County deputy was forced to open fire and shoot the stabbing suspect.

Deputy Todd Boger located and challenged the suspect, who was still armed with a large military-style knife near the parking lot in the complex, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

When the suspect, identified as John Vincent DeSanto, 43, of St. Augustine, did not comply with several commands from the deputy to drop the knife and instead confronted him, Boger fired his weapon, striking DeSanto, deputies said.

"We're allowed to defend ourselves against someone attacking us and we're also allowed to defend other individuals if they're being attacked," said Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan.

DeSanto was treated by paramedics with St. Johns County Fire Rescue and flown by air ambulance to UF Health Jacksonville for trauma care.

The victim of the initial stabbing was also treated. She had non-life threatening injuries. 

DeSanto's criminal history shows arrests for aggravated battery, resisting an officer, drug possession, fraud, forgery and larceny dating back to 2001.

Boger was placed on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated, which is standard protocol.

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