DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - UPDATE: Daytona Beach police said Shakyri Willis' death has been ruled a suicide. Click here to read more.
A 23-year-old suicidal man was fatally shot in the head Tuesday afternoon during an interaction with a Daytona Beach officer, police Chief Craig Capri said.
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An officer was called at 12:07 p.m. to 556 Bellevue Avenue in Daytona Beach in response to a suicidal person armed with a handgun.
Capri said that officer arrived to find Shakyri Willis, 23, in the backyard along with his sister, who was begging for him to put the gun down.
“The subject was in the backyard with the gun out at one point then tucked inside his waistband and kept pulling it out again,” Capri said.
Willis' sister was on her knees begging for her brother not to end his life and he pointed the gun at her, Capri said.
The officer, whose name has not been released, shot at Willis between four and five times from 15 to 20 yards away when Willis pointed his gun at the officer.
"At one point it appeared the subject raised the gun at the officer and the officer fired his weapon. The subject went down and we moved in to try and render aid as quickly as possible. Unfortunately the subject is deceased at the scene," Capri said.
Capri said it's not known at this time if Willis fired his weapon. He added that Willis was holding the gun in his left hand and Willis suffered a single gunshot wound to the left side of his head.
When asked if the officer fatally shot Willis, Capri said it's not known at this time, but did say the officer acted within the department's use of force policy.
Willis' family told police that he has recently been suffering from mental illness for the past two weeks, ever since someone gave him some kind of narcotic.
Willis went to Halifax Hospital Tuesday morning hoping to be treated because he was feeling suicidal, according to Capri. The shooting happened about an hour after he left the hospital.
"It's a tragedy here. We've got a young man with a mental illness that's trying to get some help and trying to commit suicide, unfortunately it's ever too prevalent you hear about people trying to kill themselves," Capri said.
The officer involved in the shooting was wearing a body camera and the family as well as representative from the NAACP have seen that video and said they supported the officer's actions, according to Capri.
Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry called for the city to unite in wake of the tragedy.
“My job here today is to call for peace and calm and essentially for our city to pray and to do the things that healthy, vibrant, good cities do when you have this type of situation, which I will call it tragic,” Henry said.
Officials described Willis as a popular young man who had never been in any trouble.
Henry and Capri both condemned the people posting rumors about the shooting on social media.
"Irresponsible people putting out false information when you don't know the facts is a problem. You get on social media and just make stuff up, how is that doing anybody justice?" Capri said.
The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Investigates the shooting, which is standard procedure.
Capri said body camera footage will be released Thursday after the autopsy is completed.
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