March 19, 2017
Andrew Gant, Volusia County Sheriff’s Office
Chris Graham, City of DeLand
UPDATED: 03/20/17 - 4:20 p.m.
The identity of the deceased in yesterday evening’s shooting is Mario Simoes, 45 (DOB 10/18/1971), of DeLand.
The VCSO deputies who fired are:
The DeLand Police Department officer involved is:
A preliminary investigation indicates deputies and police called for Simoes to drop the gun and/or show his hands in excess of 30 times during a span of about two minutes leading up to the moment they fired.
ARMED MAN FIRES AT LAW OFFICE, CRASHES AT HIGH SPEED, FATALLY SHOT BY RESPONDING DEPUTIES AND POLICE
An armed man who fired several shots at a DeLand law office and later crashed at high speed into a pickup truck was fatally shot Sunday evening after refusing to drop his gun at the command of two Volusia County sheriff’s deputies and a DeLand police officer.
The 45-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene near Amelia Avenue and Old Daytona Road, behind a Publix grocery store and in front of a row of homes where he crashed his speeding Mercedes Benz.
“We have three independent witnesses who say it felt like two minutes, they just kept hearing deputies and DeLand police officers saying ‘Drop the gun, drop the gun, drop the gun,’ before he was fatally shot,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood told reporters in a news briefing at the scene.
The incident started with a 5:06 p.m. call from a third party who reported the man was at his wife’s law office at 919 Biscayne Blvd., “shooting up the place” and was possibly suicidal. The caller said the suspect had been drinking and was very distraught over the couple’s marital issues.
As deputies and DeLand officers arrived on scene, the suspect fled in his car at high speeds estimated up to 100 mph. After hitting stop sticks as he fled west on Old Daytona Road, he crashed into a Ford pickup driven by a husband and wife leaving the nearby Lowe’s store. Deputies and officers approached the crash scene and saw the suspect appeared to be reloading his gun. After he refused the repeated commands to drop the weapon and made a move, the two deputies and one police officer all fired to stop the threat.
Acting DeLand Police Chief Randel Henderson said the agency’s police officers receive training annually on how to handle situations involving people who are suicidal but ultimately law enforcement officials have to make quick decisions.
“We deal with the complexities of human behavior,” he said. “We never know at any given time what someone’s thinking, what’s going to punch their buttons and what’s going to make them react. (Officers and deputies) very quickly have to look at a scenario that unfolds around them and act accordingly.
“We go out every day and we don’t know what we’re dealing with.”
The husband and wife in the truck were able to walk away from the crash but were taken to an area hospital to get checked out.
The identity of the deceased as well as the names of the deputies and officer involved will be released in a future update. All three are being temporarily placed on paid leave as is customary during deputy- and officer-involved shootings.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting and the Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.
Additional updates will be sent as they become available.
Administrative offices: West Volusia 386-736-5961 Daytona Beach 386-254-4589 New Smyrna Beach 386-423-3352
Non-emergency dispatch numbers: DeLand 386-943-8276 Daytona Beach 386-239-8276 New Smyrna Beach 386-409-8276 Osteen 407-323-0151