COCOA BEACH, Fla. – A 59-year-old man shot and killed by Cocoa Beach police late Friday was "suicidal," and had been drinking after he shot out a window in their condominium, according to a woman who called 9-1-1 for help.
The woman called dispatchers about 10:20 p.m. Friday, saying that she didn’t know if she was safe as her husband wandered along the porch of their Royal Colonial Condos condominium on Banana River Boulevard, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.
“He has a gun and just shot out the window,” the woman told dispatchers. “Are you safe ma’am?” the dispatcher asked. “I don’t know,” she said. “He’s hysterical, he’s been drinking…I don’t know.”
It was the third deadly officer-involved shooting to take place in Brevard County since the start of the new year. The two Cocoa Beach officers involved were not injured during the Friday night confrontation.
Police arrived at the second-floor unit within minutes of the call and attempted to talk with the gun-wielding man later identified as Tim Berger.
Berger, armed with a black handgun, was shot to death by the officers.
“As officers arrived at the unit, they attempted to make contact with Berger and were immediately met with an imminent, violent threat that resulted in a deadly force response,” the agency reported in a statement released Sunday.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the circumstances leading up to the shooting and is interviewing witnesses, including officers, as part of its review.
The state agency, which many agencies use to handle officer-involved shootings across Florida, will also review forensic evidence gathered by the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.
The state agency’s independent findings will be forwarded to the Brevard County state attorney’s office where the Cocoa Beach case will be reviewed and a determination will be made on the use of deadly force.
The officers involved, James Scheiner and Taylor Payne, were placed on administrative leave, which is the standard protocol for the beachside agency. Scheiner began working with Cocoa Beach in June 2015. Payne began with the agency in May 2016.
The most recent fatal shooting took place Feb. 8 in Grant-Valkaria and involved sheriff’s deputies confronting a 35-year-old man with an ‘edged weapon,’ slashing at his arms, according to reports. Ricardo Colon, who sheriff’s officials say was suicidal, became aggressive after deputies attempted to subdue him with a shocking device.
The deputies then shot him.
The other shooting, also involving a Brevard County sheriff’s deputy, happened Jan. 21. In that case, a deputy shot and killed a 46-year-old man spotted driving erratically along U.S. 1. The man made an ‘overt action,’ prompting a deputy to act, the sheriff said. In a dashcam video released by the agency, the man clasped hands and waved his arms as if he was clutching a gun.
Sheriff Ivey said his department is investigating the shootings in Grant-Valkaria and Rockledge and will not seek outside investigators from Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which was the policy for the Sheriff's Office until 2016.
All three cases could take several weeks before reaching the state attorney’s office.