GULF COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - More details are being released about the officer-involved shooting in Gulf County from Sunday.
Sheriff Mike Harrison spoke Friday about the investigation.
He says Sunday afternoon Joseph Durman, 46, of Kingsport, Tennessee, drove away from a Bay County gas station without paying. Sheriff Harrison says Durman then struck a Tyndall Air Force officer during a pursuit.
Deputies say they saw Durman digging around for something in his vehicle.
Multiple agencies responded to the area and stopped Durman in Gulf County. Sheriff Harrison says three officers from three different agencies reported seeing Durman holding what appeared to be a gun and pointing it at a deputy. Those on scene reported he was told multiple times to drop the weapon and did not. He says a deputy made a split second decision to shoot, believing his life was in danger.
Agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement were called to the scene. Investigators say when searching the scene, no gun was found. They say under Durman's body was a black battery pack. Investigators believe Durman was pointed the battery at the officer as if it were a gun.
Sheriff Harrison says Durman had an extensive criminal history, including being wanted in two states for escaping a work camp and absconding from probation. He also says the vehicle Durman was in was stolen and the license plate did not match the vehicle he was in. Inside the vehicle, investigators say they found items, mostly construction equipment, that were reported missing.
The sheriff says the deputy who fired the fatal shot has been with the Gulf County Sheriff's Office for 25 years and has never used deadly force before. The deputy is currently on paid administrative leave.