FT. WALTON BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - One Fort Walton Beach man tried to take an Okaloosa County Sheriff's Deputy's weapon on Friday, which resulted in a struggle that ultimately led to his death.
One person is dead after getting into a shootout with Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office deputies when the deputies tried to serve the man with a warrant at a home on Gap Creek Drive on November 18, 2016.
Okaloosa County Sheriff's Deputies were serving Joseph Fletcher, 35, with a felony warrant on charges of grand theft of a motor vehicle, possession of a controlled substance, and fleeing and eluding. When they got to his home, his girlfriend answered the door and told them that Fletcher was hiding in a closet.
When they found Fletcher, at first it seemed like he was going to comply, but he lashed out at officers.
One of them used a Taser on Fletcher to get him under control, but it didn't work and a struggle followed. Fletcher went for one of the deputy's guns, got a hold of it, and another deputy shot at Fletcher.
EMS arrived on the scene and Fletcher was pronounced dead. No deputies were hurt in the shootout.
"In these types of incidences, we just don't realize how often our officers are placed in harms way and the courage and bravery that they exhibit and the professionalism that they exhibit when facing imminent threat," Okaloosa Sheriff Larry Ashley said.
Sheriff Ashley said Fletcher had an extensive criminal background going back to around 1998 with multiple drug charges, battery charges, and theft charges.
All of the officers involved in the shooting are on paid administrative leave pending investigation.
Once the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office completes its investigation on the shooting, the State Attorney's Office will make the final decision. This is the first time Okaloosa County has had an officer-involved shooting since Deputy Bill Myers was killed in September 2015.