A former Miami-Dade police officer was taken into custody after backing down in an armed standoff with deputies in St. Lucie County.
The man, who was not identified, had a fight with his girlfriend Monday morning in Miami-Dade County, St. Lucie Sheriff Ken Mascara told reporters. Shortly after noon, deputies received a call from the woman saying her boyfriend was in the area and threatening to commit suicide. The woman also said the former officer, who had called her on FaceTime, was armed.
Deputies tracked the man down using his phone’s signal and discovered him in the parking lot of the Flying J truck stop at Kings Highway and Orange Avenue about half an hour later, Mascara said. Sheriff's Office SWAT Team members and hostage negotiators were called to the scene, and officers evacuated a nearby Denny’s restaurant to set up a perimeter around the back lot where the man was in his vehicle.
Negotiators began speaking with the man to establish a rapport and talk him out of his attempted suicide, Mascara said.
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“He wanted to kill himself,” he said. “We as an agency felt he might want to commit suicide by cop. That was our greatest fear.”
The man asked if the sheriff was on the scene, and Mascara spoke with the officer briefly, he said. After about 2 1/2 hours, Mascara added, the man agreed to walk out of his car with Mascara unarmed, with his service revolver left on the backseat.
When the man exited the vehicle, he told Mascara that he “never wanted to hurt anybody and was going through a lot of personal things in his life.”
“We all know that pain sometimes,” Mascara later told reporters. He said he told the man, “’We’re all one big family, we’re here to take care of you.’”
The man also asked to talk to his girlfriend and his former employer, which deputies agreed to facilitate.
It was unclear why the man chose to travel to St. Lucie County, Mascara said. The former officer was taken to a mental health facility after being taken into custody.