OCALA, Fla. – The mother of a man who is accused of being involved in a shooting at West Marion Community Hospital on Saturday said her son has a substance-abuse problem and needs help.
Jason Gignac, 38, of Summerfield, was found walking down Interstate 75 on Saturday afternoon. Florida Highway Patrol troopers told him three separate times that it was illegal and he needed to get away from the road.
During the third encounter, Gignac asked for medical attention so troopers took him to the hospital, FHP said.
FHP Lt. Patrick Riordan said Gignac became combative after he was seen by doctors and about to be taken into custody. Gignac is accused of biting at least two of the three troopers who were involved in the altercation.
"At some point during that scuffle, one of our official firearms was discharged and unfortunately, it did strike an employee of West Marion in the leg and she subsequently required medical attention," Riordan said.
The nurse is in stable condition.
Riordan said there's an investigation underway to determine how the gun was discharged. At this point, it's unclear if Gignac was the one who pulled the trigger.
"When an internal investigation is done, we look at a lot of things. We look at preventative measures as far as maybe handling of a firearm, defensive tactics, any of those things can be looked at in this internal investigation," Riordan said.
Troopers added that they'll also evaluate the suspect's mental state during the incident, something Gignac's mother, Rachael Delannoy said definitely played a role in the altercation. She blames her son's drug use.
"The officer was going to arrest him for being on the interstate and he just flipped out, and what I'm thinking, he didn't want to go to jail, and him being under the influence when they jumped him, I'm sure he really flipped out, and then this happened," Delannoy said.
She said Gignac, a father of five, has tried several times to stop abusing drugs.
"It's not my son, you know, it's just not my son, it's the drugs and he just can't quit. I've tried and tried. I don't know, he just needs help," Delannoy said.
She said she's worried sick over her son's mental health, but she still refuses to give up on him.
"This is probably a blessing in disguise, a bad blessing, but it's probably a blessing in disguise because maybe he can get the help he needs (in jail) because he's going to be there a while, I'm sure," Delannoy said.
Gignac has been charged with three counts of battery on an officer and two counts of resisting arrest. He has not been charged in connection with the shooting.