A 28-year-old Hispanic man, armed with a machete and “out of control” in his own home in Frostproof, West Florida, was shot dead by police officers, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd reported Thursday.
The bailiff confirmed the death of Yoel Arnaldo Mejía Santel, who, according to his sister, who was the one who notified the police, “was paranoid and probably schizophrenic.”
According to a police statement, when his sister told him that she was going to call the police, Mejía Santel, who had been on probation since last May, said they are going to have to shoot him because he had a machete to defend himself.
And it did so after police tried unsuccessfully to calm the situation down, Judd said.
The three constables from the sheriff’s office sent to the house tried to catch him after 47 minutes of talking to him, but the young Hispanic escaped from them, grabbed a machete and took refuge in a bathroom in the house.
A fourth agent arrived as reinforcement and while they argued with him to get him out of the bathroom, the young man suddenly opened the door and brandishing a machete over his head went towards the officers, who immediately opened fire.
When they fired they were 4 feet (1.2 meters) from Mejía Santel, according to Sheriff Judd, who held a press conference to report what happened.
Mejía Santel died at the scene and none of the police officers was injured.
“There is no doubt that enforcing the law is a dangerous task,” said the sheriff, who stressed that Mejía Santel put the agents in a position where they had to “protect themselves and those who were around.”
The homicide unit of the Sheriff’s Office initiated the corresponding investigation into the case and there will also be an administrative investigation and the county coroner will carry out an autopsy on Mejía Santel.