Palm Bay police fatally shoot man suspected of killing his mother

Woman found shot to death in Martin County

Palm Bay police on Sunday shot and killed a man linked to the death of his mother, who had been shot earlier in the day in South Florida, according to authorities.

The man, identified Monday afternoon as Christopher Ruffin, was confronted by police after officers received a call from a woman who said her husband or fiancé had pointed a gun at her.

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Palm Bay police sent out a reverse 911 call to neighbors, advising them to stay indoors as officers searched for the man.

“We were receiving up-to-date calls notifying us as the time what was going on,” Brevard County Chief Deputy Doug Waller said.

After a tip from a resident later in the day, officers located Christopher Ruffin on Karney Avenue near Dogwood Street.

“Our officers arrived, along with our deputies, and challenged the individual to drop his firearm and a shooting ensued soon afterward,” Palm Bay Chief Nelson Moya said.

The man was struck by gunfire and later died at a hospital, police said.

According to authorities, the man was linked to a death investigation in Martin County.

Hours before the officer-involved shooting, Martin County deputies found the suspect’s mother, Christine Ruffin, dead from a gunshot wound in her home during a welfare check. Records show she was shot in the back of the head and was found lying on a couch with most of her body covered by a blanket.

Martin County investigators said Christopher Ruffin was a person of interest in his mother’s death.

Four police officers, a deputy from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and several witness officers have been placed on administration leave, which is standard procedure in agency-related shootings. The Florida Department Law Enforcement will investigate the shooting.

The incident marks the second officer-involved shooting in Palm Bay in the past week. Last Sunday, a man shot at Palm Bay police during a traffic stop, then ran off. After a massive search, Joseph Martinez was taken into custody. No officers were harmed in either confrontation.

“It’s troubling. I can safely say in both incidents these are folks coming from out of town into our communities looking to cause violence. Although we are a safe county and safe city, it’s distressing to hear this happening in our streets,” Moya said.

On Tuesday, Palm Bay police released the names of the four officers involved in the shooting: Officer Christopher Morris, Officer Ryan Van Note, Officer Christina Martin and Officer Joseph Moreno.

The shooting is being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.