Shooting involving Clermont officer ruled suicide

Joshua Waldron, 21, dies after exchanging gunfire with Clermont police

CLERMONT, Fla. - Clermont police say the death of man in an altercation with a Clermont police officer was suicidal.

Joshua Waldron, 21, died on Tuesday after exchanging fire with Officer James Rooney, who approached him after spotting him with a blunt-cigarette in McKinney Park Tuesday afternoon.

Police said Waldron pulled out a gun at Rooney as he approached and shots were fired. Waldron ran several blocks to a wooded area beside U.S. Highway 27 and was found lying on his back with a gun beside him.

At a news conference on Thursday, police said the .22 caliber in Waldron's head matched the rifle that was recovered at the scene. An autopsy confirmed the manner of death was a suicide.

Rooney is still on paid administrative leave.

Police also said on Thursday that they had received a report from an unnamed woman about Waldron stalking her last month. The woman said that for 2 weeks she had been receiving threatening phone calls and text messages from Waldron 50 times a day threatening to shoot and kill her, and then kill himself in front of her son, according to police.

The woman then told police she didn't wish to prosecute. Later that day the detecive received a call from Waldron saying he should not have sent text messages, acknowledged that threatning to kill someone is a crime, and said he is depressed, according to police.  When asked if he intended to kill himself, he said no.

It's not clear who the woman was.

Meanwhile, Waldron's family a vigil Wednesday night and demanding answers from the Clermont Police Department.

"Nothing could bring him back because of this, and that's what hurts the most," said Erica O'Riley, Waldron's sister.

Waldron's mom, Tina Hobson, said her son died from a single gunshot wound to the back of his head.

"Why?  Why did this happen? We have no answers.  We're not getting no answers," she said.

Police were called to the vigil after a fight broke out between Waldron's family and the mother of his child.  No one was arrested.

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