‘We want to help you:’ Officers beg armed veteran to drop gun before fatal Orlando shooting

74-year-old man armed with pistol made threats, officials say

Multiple law enforcement officers were involved in the fatal shooting of an armed veteran in distress, according to authorities.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Multiple law enforcement officers were involved in the fatal shooting of an armed veteran in distress, according to authorities.

According to Orlando police and Orange County Sheriff’s Office officials, an Orlando officer arrived at a home Thursday in the 3100 block of Cashmere Drive near Port Royal Drive, east of Boggy Creek Road and west of the Orlando International Airport to conduct a well-being check after being notified of a call placed to a crisis hotline.

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Authorities said the man called for help but told the individual he spoke with that “if the police get called, there’s going to be blood.”

The man who called the hotline, a 74-year-old military veteran, was standing outside the home with a pistol in his hand when the first officer arrived, Orlando police officials said.

The officer called for backup after realizing the man was armed, according to police. Moments later, additional OPD officers and Orange County deputies arrived at the scene.

Authorities said the officers and deputies tried for 20 minutes to de-escalate the situation, begging the man to put down his weapon but the man continued to make threatening statements.

Nine seconds into body camera video released by the Orlando Police Department, an officer tells the man to drop the gun. Twenty seconds into the video, an officer says “help us out,” again trying to convince the man to put down the gun.

Thirty seconds into a compilation of body camera video, officers had already asked the man multiple times to drop the gun.

“We want to help you. Put the gun down please,” an officer said.

An officer can be heard saying the man is “waving the gun around a little bit.”

One of the deputies who responded was a military veteran and even tried to make that connection with the man, authorities said during a news briefing shortly after the shooting.

“You were in the service? You were in the service? I was in the service, too, man. Come on, we want to help you. I want to help you, brother. Please, put it down,” he said in one attempt to help the man.

That officer continues his efforts to convince the man to drop the weapon.

“I personally will do whatever I gotta do to help you. We both served. We’re brothers. Brothers don’t leave each other behind. Come on, man. Never leave a man behind, right?” he said. “Sir, I know you’re struggling. I’ll do whatever I gotta do to help you. We all will, just put it on the ground, please.”

Officials said the man made a threatening movement toward authorities, at which time two deputies and four officers fired their weapons, fatally shooting the man. News 6 has chosen not to name the man involved in the fatal shooting based on the fact that he suffered from mental health issues.

No officers or deputies were injured in the shooting. The officers involved are not being named either under Marsy’s Law. In April, the First District Court of Appeal ruled that law enforcement officers who are threatened in use-of-force incidents are entitled to invoke the same privacy protections as other victims covered by Marsy’s Law, the Orlando Police Department said in a news release.

A short time after the shooting took place, a neighbor told News 6 that she heard gunshots and was told by authorities to stay indoors.

Video from the scene showed at least eight police vehicles lining a street in a subdivision.

When questioned about how the situation unfolded, Orange County Sheriff John Mina said both agencies have clinicians who respond to crises but those experts are not trained to respond to armed individuals who make threatening statements. He said deputies are also trained to respond to this in distress.

“Both of our agencies, we respond to armed suicidal people all year long. the vast majority of those situations, even with firearms, are de-escalated because of the training we have,” Mina said.

Additionally, Orlando police officials said the officer who initially responded is among the 250 Orlando police officers currently trained in crisis intervention.

Both officials with the police department and sheriff’s office called the incident a tragedy and encouraged anyone who needs help to reach out.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day by calling 800-273-8255. Veterans can get additional suicide prevention resources here.

Here is a list of additional mental health and crisis resources provided by the Orlando Police Department:

  • Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK(8255), then press 1
  • City of Orlando’s Community Response Team(CRT)3: 321-235-5300
  • Heart of Florida United Way: 211
  • Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741741
  • The Trevor Lifeline for LGBTQ Youth: 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678-678

The shooting will be investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which is standard procedure for an officer-involved shooting, and the findings will be handed over to the state attorney’s office.

Orlando police investigate a shooting. (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the man’s age as 74. Initially, officers said he was 73 years old.

About the Authors:

Daniel started with WKMG-TV in 2000 and became the digital content manager in 2009. When he's not working on ClickOrlando.com, Daniel likes to head to the beach or find a sporting event nearby.