Man suffering mental episode shot by Lake County deputy following reports of a trespasser, report shows

49-year-old man’s sister says he called her for help hours before being shot

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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – Body camera video and witness accounts show a man with bipolar disorder shot by deputies Sunday had called his sister for help hours before he was reported wandering on wooded, private property in Lake County.

According to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Daniel Phelps Sayre, 49, was injured in a deputy-involved shooting Sunday around 1 p.m. after authorities say he was trespassing in a horse pasture off Cooter Pond Road in DeLand.

On Friday, News 6 obtained about 2 hours of body camera video and the initial report from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office of the incident from May 2.

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Multiple witnesses who spoke to deputies said they saw a man on their property, however, their accounts differ as to what he was carrying.

One property owner said she saw a man “with a big stick run halfway up her driveway and then take off into the woods beside her property,” according to the report.

One landowner told deputies the man was carrying a “shotgun and a homemade spear.” He asked the man what he was doing and the man said, “I didn’t know it was anyone’s property.” The man told deputies he told the man he was going to “sick his dogs on him,” but the man kept walking and went back into the woods.

The sheriff’s office said they had received “multiple reports of an armed trespasser.”

Body camera video reviewed by News 6 showed the moments right before Sayre was shot and after as deputies and paramedics treated the distressed man.

One deputy opened fire, according to the incident report.

The sheriff’s office has not said whether a weapon was found with the 49-year-old man and one was not visible in the video provided as part of a public record’s request.

About 18 minutes after Sayre was shot in the lower back paramedics arrived, body camera video shows. Deputies rendered aid, first applying pressure and asking Sayre to describe how he was feeling. Thick brush and trees provided some challenge for paramedics trying to put the man on a board and get him to a helicopter waiting to take him to the hospital, the video shows.

Shortly after Sayre was shot his sister arrived in the area and spoke to deputies, according to the report. She was driving to DeLand to get him when she saw the lights and sirens.

She told deputies her brother called her at 11 a.m. “in some kind of distress” and asked her to come to DeLand and get him. She said she could be there around 2 p.m. but Sayre called her back and said he was by the lake and going to the credit union.

The woman told deputies she “knew then he was most likely psychotic,” explaining that Sayre has a history of mental illness and is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After that conversation, the phone went dead and she had been unable to reach her brother, according to the report.

Body camera video from the investigator who spoke to the owner of the property where Sayre was shot was also released by the sheriff’s office.

According to the video, the property owner said he doesn’t live on the land but he was there around 1 p.m. when he heard something moving around in the brush.

The landowner said the shirtless man went into the woods and was “making a lot of noise.”

Armed with a machete, the owner told the man in the woods to leave, and another man with the owner rang a cow bell at Sayre to try and scare him off.

“I’m like, ‘What are you even doing here? And he said, “I’m trying to find my daughter.” And I’m like, ‘Your daughter’s not here so you need to go back toward the street,’” the owner told deputies.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the deputy-involved shooting which is standard procedure.

Sayre is still in the hospital and is in stable, but critical condition, according to deputies.


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