Suicidal Man Shot by Deputy

On Friday, May 31, 2013, a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office deputy was involved in a shooting.

At approximately 1:00 am, deputies responded to 315 NW Lamar Place in reference to a subject that was armed and threatening to harm himself and law enforcement. Deputies encountered the subject in the front yard of the home and observed that he was armed with a handgun.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team and Crisis Negotiation Unit were requested to respond to the scene. Before those assets could arrive, the subject attempted to run past deputies, towards neighboring homes. Knowing of the threats made by the subject, a deputy fired one round from his issued shotgun, striking the subject once.

The subject, Justin Ferguson, 36 years old, was alert and talking when EMS units arrived. He was transported to Shands UF for medical treatment.

Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter requested the investigative assistance of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to ensure that a transparent investigation into the shooting will be conducted. The FDLE Crime Scene Unit will also be assisting in the investigation.

The deputy that fired at the suspect has been placed on administrative leave in accordance with Sheriff’s Office procedures. Additional information will be released as soon as the investigation by FDLE is completed.