According to authorities, County deputies fatally shot a Florida man weilding a matchete on Thursday, after an altercation with his sister.
A press report has it that a response was given to an apartment on Freedom Drive in the unincorporated community of Frostproof by the deputies with Polk County Sheriff’s Office around 9pm.
A female eye witness told the deputies that her 28-year-old brother, Yoel Arnaldo Meija Santel “was paranoid and likely schizophrenic”. She added that Santel had taken her phone, broken the screen, and that she had broken a fingernail. Santel had also said that the cops would have to shoot him because he’d have a matchete.
Deputies saw Meija Santel right at the doorway keeping his right hand hidden. Refusing to show his hands as commanded by the deputies, he grabbed a matchete and ran to a bathroom.
The deputies went after Santel inside and perceived the stench of “strong odor of gasoline”. They ordered him to come out and he reportedly said to them: “Did you smell that gas? I poured gas everywhere.”
Sensing that Santel had with him a lighter, the deputies used a chemical agent to lure him out of the bathroom. They engaged with Santel for a period of 45 minutes after which he raised a machete over his head and charged the deputies, the sheriff’s office said.
Worried for their own safety, the deputies shot at Santel. Although they attempted life saving measures and called Polk County Fire Rescue, Meija Santel didn’t survive.
Talking at a press conference, Sheriff Grady Judd said: “There is no doubt, Law Enforcement is a dangerous job. When deputies respond to a family disturbance, they do everything they can to de-escalate the situation and bring about a peaceful conclusion. Unfortunately, Santel put them in a position where they had to protect themselves and those around them.”
The officers connected to the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave while investigation is ongoing.