Update: More Information on Panama City Beach Police Officer Standoff

By: Meg Rose - Email
By: Meg Rose - Email
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PANAMA CITY-- We're learning more information about Wednesday night's stand-off between a Panama City Beach Police Officer and Bay County Sheriff's deputies.

Authorities said Sgt. Jeff Heath was emotional and threatening to commit suicide. And one round was shot from his home, as officers swarmed into the beach neighborhood.

Bay County Sheriff's deputy Scott Frasier was the first to arrive at the Palm Cove subdivision off Middle Beach Road around 9pm Wednesday night.

He was answering a call regarding a man armed, intoxicated and causing a scene in the middle of the street.

Authorities were able to identify the man as Panama City Beach police Sgt. Jeff Heath.

They say Heath retreated back into his home. Frasier called for back-up. Through their communication with Heath, they determine he was upset over personal and work-related issues.

"There has been an ongoing child custody issue with the Heath's and his family and I think that led to some of the stress that has been created," said Bay Co. Sheriff's Capt. Ricky Ramie.

Sheriff's office Captain Ricky Ramie says he arrived just as Heath fired a shot.

"He did shoot a round off in the house and that traveled through his wall and into a residents next door. It was evacuated, but it could have been very scary how far that round could have traveled through and through three different walls," said Ramie.

Heath's boss, Beach Police Chief Drew Whitman arrived and took over communications with Heath.

"It's pretty obvious he trusts Chief Whitman and they were able to talk with one another to the point where Chief Whitman was able to get inside the house and at that time he was still armed," said Ramie.

Whitman convinced Heath to hand-over his gun and surrender.
Ramie says Heath claimed he was not threatening any of the officers.

"He made it very clear that he did not want to hurt anyone several times," said Ramie.

"It does make things a lot different when it's one of your own," adds Ramie.

The Bay County Sheriff's Office is handling the investigation.
Beach police say they haven't made a decision on Heath's future with the department.


8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647 FCC Form 398
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