Sheriff's deputy killed during standoff

/ Source: The Associated Press

An Okaloosa County sheriff's deputy was shot and killed Tuesday by a man who had barricaded himself inside a home after a violent clash with police hours earlier, officials said. The suspected gunman was also killed.

The deputy, whose name was not immediately released following the early morning shooting, was the second Florida officer in less than a week to be killed in the line of duty.

Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Michele Nicholson said the deputy, 33, was married and had two young children. He was the department's first officer to be killed while on duty.

"Obviously his family and everyone at the Sheriff's Office are absolutely devastated," Nicholson said.

Officials have also not released the name of the man in the house. Okaloosa County sheriff's officers first had contact with the man Monday afternoon, when they served a court order to take him to a local hospital for a mental evaluation.

The man left the hospital and was picked up again by law enforcement. Authorities said he kicked out the window of a police cruiser before he was returned a second time to the hospital.

The man left the hospital again, somehow obtained a shotgun and barricaded himself in a home in Fort Walton Beach, a community in Florida's Panhandle.

Sheriff's deputies sent a special response team and a crisis negotiation unit, who attempted to talk the man out of the home. Authorities said that after they received no response, officers entered the home and the man fired the gun.

Deputies returned fire and killed the man, but not before one officer was mortally wounded.

The deputy was pronounced dead at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting.

A news conference was scheduled at the sheriff's office Tuesday afternoon.

Last Friday, Fort Myers police officer Andrew Widman was fatally shot outside a nightclub. The suspect ran from the scene while firing at other officers and was shot and killed by police.