ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. (WFLA) — On April 13, an elderly man was reported missing and endangered in Zephyrhills. A man officers found wandering the streets appearing to be disoriented.
Zephyrhills Police Chief Derek Brewer said “the officer got out of his car and tried to engage him because he looked unsteady on his feet.”
“He wanted to make sure he was okay,” he continued. “That’s when it all unfolded.”
Chief Brewer said the man then armed himself with a gun, saying he wanted officers to shoot him.
“I watched it unfold, and I was scared,” he said.
Officers used bean bag impact rounds and a Taser, causing the man to fall to the ground.
“You can’t train for courage, that’s just something that you have it or you don’t and I think what you saw that day was courage on display,” Chief Brewer said.
He said it’s thanks to their training and the courage of officers like Bob Chandler.
“We go through extensive training and training is the major thing,” Chandler said. “It kind of kicks in and takes over.”
“You have to have a cool head about it,” he continued. “You don’t want to go in there guns blazing.”
“He’s not a criminal, he’s in distress,” Chandler explained. “He’s obviously having some issues.”
“We need to get this to a happy conclusion, so we can get him some help.”
There is help out there. It’s just a call away.
Crisis Center of Tampa Bay CEO Clara Reynolds said, “Experiencing these types of thoughts, these invasive thoughts that can feel incredibly overwhelming almost paralyzing sometimes.”
“I can promise you this, the hardest part of your journey is picking up the phone and calling 988,” she continued.
If you or a loved one are experiencing thoughts of suicide, the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay can be reached by dialing 211. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline can be reached at 800-273-8255.