Posted: 4:36 a.m. Monday, July 18, 2016
By Brittney Donovan, ANJ
A former U.S. Marine with a history of mental health issues was killed by a deputy after he threatened to harm himself then aimed a gun at a SWAT officer outside a Green Cove Springs home on Saturday.
Deputies were called to 31-year-old Billy Smith’s home around 3 p.m. after his father told a 911 operator that his son planned to harm himself.
When Clay deputies got to the home on Citation Drive, they heard gunfire and learned Smith was inside alone.
They called a SWAT team and set up a perimeter.
Negotiations by telephone went on for almost three hours. Smith hung up on the negotiator and called back several times.
Throughout negotiations, Smith fired a weapon 16 to 20 times and broke some of the windows at the home.
At one point, Smith came out of the front door and took aim at a SWAT officer across the street.
The officer, a 7-year veteran with Clay County Sheriff’s Office, fired one round and hit Smith. He died in the front yard.
This is the deputy’s first officer-involved shooting.
Clay County Sheriff Rick Beesler said he believes Smith was desperate to kill himself but did not want to do it.