SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — A man was shot Friday morning after attacking a group of deputies who were trying to evict him, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.
SCSO spokeswoman Kaitlyn Perez said civil deputies were at the Palm Place apartments in Sarasota to evict 65-year-old Jeremiah Evans who was squatting in a deceased man’s apartment.
Perez said Evans had lived with the late tenant when he was still alive but did not leave after the tenant died in September.
“This man was not on the lease,” she said. “He should not have been here.”
The sheriff’s office got involved after it received a writ of possession Wednesday to evict Evans. Perez said prior to this, the deceased tenant’s family and apartment complex tried to remove Evans before they turned to deputies for assistance.
After a 24-hour eviction notice was issued on the unit’s door Thursday, three civil deputies returned to the apartment with an attorney for the late tenant’s family.
Perez said after the deputies entered, Evans approached the deputies with a knife. SCSO said the deputies made multiple attempts to de-escalate the situation with verbal commands and a taser. When the taser failed to subdue Evans, SCSO said he lunged forward. That’s when a female deputy shot Evans, killing him.
“They made verbal commands in an attempt to make the subject de-escalate,” Perez said. “Again, he did not. He advanced toward our deputies.”
The spokeswoman said the deputies were taken to headquarters to be interviewed by the SCSO’s officer-involved shooting investigation team.
“Any time our deputies have to utilize their weapons, lethal or nonlethal, is not a good day for us,” she said.
“Fortunately, we have senior detectives who are very well-trained and versed in officer-involved shootings.
Perez said Evans had no local family but had a daughter in another part of the country. His next of kin was notified.
SCSO is conducting its own investigation into the shooting. The results of the investigation will then be reviewed by the State Attorney’s Office.
Editors note: Authorities initially provided an incorrect age for Evans. The error has been corrected.