Florida Keys

A machete-swinging man kept Key West cops in a standoff for hours

Crazy things happen in the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are spectacular, but also a little weird. Here are some shenanigans that will leave you shaking your head.
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The Florida Keys are spectacular, but also a little weird. Here are some shenanigans that will leave you shaking your head.

A man armed with a machete kept officers in a standoff for more than three hours late Tuesday night, Key West police said.

Officers were responding to reports of a sexual assault and two batteries.

Mike McKelva, 55, surrendered after police said he battered two women at an apartment complex on Truman Avenue and cut a man at another home.

“Neighbors heard screaming and ran the suspect out of the complex,” said police spokeswoman Alyson Crean.

McKelva had injuries of his own — self-inflicted cuts to his neck and torso — and was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami after surrendering to police. His mugshot and booking information was not available Wednesday morning.

The incident began about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when a 911 call came in about a sexual battery in an apartment complex on Truman. Police did not provide details on that allegation.

Witnesses told police a man — later identified as McKelva — entered several apartments, where he is accused of battering two women.

He ran into a nearby home and armed himself with a machete and then went to the home of Kent and Lisa Lefner, Crean said.

McKelva knocked on the door, and Kent Lefner opened it, recognizing him as someone who had worked on his house in the past.

Lefner said the armed man immediately began swinging the machete at him, cutting him.

“Then McKelva reportedly ran out the back door, telling the witnesses that he was going to kill himself. After that, McKelva barricaded himself inside a residence at 921 Whitehead Street,” Crean said.

The Key West Police Department’s Special Response Team and its Negotiation Team worked to get McKelva into custody.

During the standoff, McKelva broke several of the Whitehead Street home’s windows..

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