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SLC Sheriff Responds to Criticism Over Fatal Hospital Shooting

Hospital Shoting.jpg
Photo courtesy Indian River County Sheriff's Office
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Questions have been raised about the necessity of shooting the man who was armed with a pair of scissors.

Indian River County - April 19, 2022: Indian River County Sheriff Eric Flowers has released a statement in defense of the officers who shot and killed an emotionally disturbed man inside the Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital on Saturday March 26.

Questions have been raised about the necessity of shooting the man who was armed with a pair of scissors.

Two Indian River County SWAT Team members, a Sheriff Detective and a Patrol Deputy were all inside the hospital emergency room when at about 10:30 pm that Saturday night the 29 year old victim rose from the gurney he was lying on, grabbed a pair of large scissors, and ran through the ER threatening patients and staff. He raised the scissors as he approached the officers and the deputies shot and killed him. ( https://www.wqcs.org/wqcs-news/2022-03-28/irc-sheriff-hospital-shooting-highlights-crisis-in-mental-health-care )

In a statement to the media issued Tuesday Sheriff Flowers said he is awaiting court permission to release the full video of the incident that was recorded inside the emergency room.

"I was on scene that night and viewed the video," states the Sheriff in his release. "In my opinion, (the video) shows that deputies had no choice but to take the action they did to defend their lives and the lives of others in the ER." The Sheriff acknowledged that many questions remain unanswered but "I can assure you that our team responded appropriately based on their training and I stand behind their actions."

However the Cleveland Clinic has concerns about releasing the video because of patient confidentiality, said the Sheriff. "While I do not agree with their position, and will oppose it in court, I respect the rule of law and will honor whatever decision our circuit judge issues ... If and when we are allowed to release the video, I will do so," he concludes.

Read the FULL statement below from Sheriff Eric Flowers on the Cleveland Clinic Deputy Involved Shooting incident:

Since the Deputy-involved shooting at Cleveland Clinic that occurred on the evening of March 26th, I have been fighting to release the video of the incident recorded inside of the Emergency Room. I was on scene that night and viewed the video which, in my opinion, shows that deputies had no choice but to take the action they did to defend their lives and the lives of others in the ER. Within hours, our agency served Cleveland Clinic with a subpoena to provide the video to the State Attorney’s Office to further the investigation into this tragic occurrence. Last week, Cleveland Clinic released the video to our agency but also filed an injunction seeking to prevent the release of the video to the public.

Locally, Dr. Rosencrance and his team at Cleveland Clinic have been great partners. The Cleveland Clinic however has concerns over patient confidentiality. While I do not agree with their position, and will oppose it in court, I respect the rule of law and will honor whatever decision our circuit judge issues.

I met with our partners at the Mental Health Collaborative last week and provided them with additional information about the situation. I know that many questions still remain unanswered, but having seen the video myself, I can assure you that our team responded appropriately based on their training and I stand behind their actions. We must allow the State Attorney’s Office to do their job and complete the investigation. If and when we are allowed to release the video, I will do so.