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Lockdown lifted at Florida Hospital Waterman in Tavares

Man with gun turns out to be on-duty deputy

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TAVARES, Fla. – A lockdown was lifted at a Lake County hospital after it was discovered that a man with a gun turned out to be a sheriff's deputy, according to officials.

[PHOTOS:  Sheriff's deputy in hospital causes scare]

Florida Hospital Waterman at 1000 Waterman Way in Tavares was locked down Tuesday morning as a precaution, according to hospital officials.

A worker notified authorities after seeing a man with a gun in his holster.  Tavares police investigated the incident and discovered the man was a Lake County sheriff's deputy, according to officials.

"The deputy is assigned to the sheriff's Fugitive Apprehension Unit and was on duty visiting a family member who was a patient in the hospital at the time," the Lake County Sheriff's Office said in an email to Local 6.  "The deputy was wearing the approved uniform for his department, which consists of tactical style pants, a uniform shirt clearly marked with Lake County Sheriff's Office insignia in six-inch lettering, and a law enforcement duty belt, which included his assigned firearm.  Such attire is worn due to the nature of the unit's work."

The deputy was on duty and was wearing an approved uniform for his assignment, and he didn't violate any policies, the Sheriff's Office said.

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There is no state law banning weapons in hospitals, but Florida Hospital bans weapons on its campuses.

"Weapons, including firearms and knives, are not allowed on hospital grounds," the hospital's website states.  "For the safety and security of everyone, the hospital reserves the right to search any person's belonging for drugs and/or weapons."

Florida Hospital Waterman is a 269-bed hospital located with more than 1,500 employees and nearly 280 physicians on its medical staff.  The hospital treats more than 14,000 in-patients a year and nearly 50,000 patients in its emergency department annually.

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