THE VILLAGES, Fla. – Two Marion County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a knife-wielding man near The Villages after he attacked them simply because they were law enforcement officers, according to authorities.
The deputies, whose names have not been released, were not injured in the incident, which was reported around 10:30 p.m. at the Circle K on SE Highway 42 near U.S. Highway 27.
The man was taken to a hospital, where he died, Marion County sheriff’s Sgt. Paul Bloom said. His name has not been released.
According to Bloom, the deputies had just finished fueling up and were talking when the man drove up, jumped out of his vehicle and started to attack the deputies with a very large knife.
“It was a quiet Tuesday night and evil raised its head when you least expect it,” Bloom said. “An evil man pulled up with every intention to kill them.”
Bloom said the deputies tried to retreat before fighting back and using deadly force. Bloom didn’t say how many shots the deputies fired, but added that they used enough force to know that they were no longer in danger.
It’s not known if any words were exchanged before or during the attack.
“He surprised them and they acted appropriately,” Bloom said.
There were employees inside Circle K, but no one else was injured in the shooting.
Bloom said investigators went to the man’s home and it appears he lived alone. A motive for the attack is unknown, and Bloom said the man did not have any known criminal background.
“This just reiterates the danger that is inherent with this job,” Bloom said. “It appears they were attacked because they were deputies in marked patrol cars.”
Bloom said the deputies rendered first aid to the man after shooting him.
“We appreciate these men and women who work hard all day,” Bloom said.
The deputies, who have experience with the agency, have been placed on paid leave, which is standard procedure in deputy-involved shootings. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the shooting.
The gas station was cordoned off with yellow crime tape as officials investigated the shooting.
The Villages is southeast of Ocala.
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