Winter Haven, Fla. (AP) — A police officer fatally shot a 52-year-old Florida man who told them “I’m going to die tonight” when the officer arrived to investigate a sexual harassment call.
A woman called 911 late to report that Larry Jenkins had fired a gun at the ground when she and her husband went to his Winter Haven home to pick up her 14-year-old sister, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a news conference Sunday.
The 21-year-old 911 caller told investigators Jenkins had made unwanted sexual advances toward the teen and had also exposed himself to her, the sheriff said.
When the couple arrived at Jenkins’s home, the teen was waiting outside, Judd said. The woman told investigators Jenkins, who was drunk, tried to hand her husband a gun and asked him to shoot him.
The man refused, and Jenkins pointed the gun at his own head and said “I’m fixin’ to get ready to die,” the sheriff told reporters.
When Jenkins fired the gun at the ground, the couple fled with the teen and the woman called 911.
Winter Haven police Sgt. Joshua Dentel and other officers found Jenkins inside a screened porch, smoking a cigarette and holding his right hand over his pocket.
Dentel asked to see his hands, but Jenkins refused, saying “I have a gun in my pocket,” Judd said. Jenkins then walked outside, still holding his hand over his pocket.
Two other officers had joined Dentel by then. One of them used a stun gun on Jenkins, but it only had a “small effect,” the sheriff said.
He continued to ignore commands, the sheriff said. Jenkins told the officers, “I’m going to die tonight, ” and “you’re going to have to shoot me.”
When Jenkins took the gun out of his pocket, Dentel fired, hitting him several times. Officers performed life-saving measures and called for paramedics, the sheriff said. Jenkins was taken to a hospital where he died.
Dentel, who has been with the department for nearly 10 years, has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the sheriff’s office and the state attorney.