Man killed by Cocoa police officer while attacking woman was set to return to jail, chief says

Police identify suspect as Renard Daniels, 55

COCOA, Fla. – The 55-year-old man fatally shot by a Cocoa police officer Wednesday evening was due back to jail the day he was killed, Cocoa Police Chief Mike Cantaloupe said.

Renard Antonio Daniels was sentenced to two years for a 2018 aggravated battery conviction and was out on a Quarterman’s bond when police say he began attacking a woman with a knife at Prospect Community Park.

Officer Brian Fredette arrived at the park around 5:17 p.m. after a 911 caller reported that a woman was being attacked at the park. When he arrived, he saw Daniels on top of the victim while stabbing her with a large butcher knife, Cantaloupe told reporters Thursday.

Fredette told Daniels to drop the knife. When he refused, the officer shot him once. The officer said Daniels continued to ignore his commands and then charged at Fredette. Fredette said he fired a second shot at the suspect and a third when he again he did not drop the knife.

“The actions of our officer last night during this incident are what saved the life of this victim," Cantaloupe said. “Had our officer not acted the way he did ... the victim in this case would have been severely injured or deceased.”

The victim suffered multiple stab wounds to the neck and was treated and released from a local hospital, authorities said.

Daniels was on a seven-day temporary bond known as a Quarterman’s bond, to settle some affairs, when the incident unfolded. The chief said Daniels should have turned himself in Wednesday morning, hours before his death.

Florida Department of Corrections records show, Daniels most recently served 3 years for a cocaine possession conviction in 2014. He has a history with the DoC dating back to 1982 with convictions of robbery with a deadly weapon and burglary, among other things.

Renard Antonio Daniels, 55. (WKMG 2020)

The Cocoa Police Department has released witness video showing Daniels with the victim before the stabbing and a witness statement describing the officer-involved shooting.

“He ordered her (sic) to get off her or drop the knife and he wouldn’t so he shot one time,” the witness said. “So he took up and the second time he drew back, the police shot him again, and the third time he ‘drawed’ (sic) again and the police laid him down.”

Cantaloupe said Fredette’s body camera video will be released at a later date. Department officials said Fredette has been a Cocoa police officer since last April and previously served as a military police officer for four years in the U.S. Navy.

Cocoa Mayor Jake Williams and Cantaloupe encouraged the community to support the officer and the suspect’s family.

“I hope our community will stand behind the officer and the police department,” Cantaloupe said. “I really hope that we can bring the community together.”

Cocoa police have established a regular presence at area parks, Williams said, to provide protection. After Wednesday’s incident, the mayor said the city is considering adding video surveillance at the parks.

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