MIDDLEBURG, Fla.- A distraught man threatening to harm himself or police was shot and killed by officers in Middleburg on Christmas Day, Sheriff Rick Beseler announced in a press conference.
Beseler says the man, Michael Alan Altice, 61, called 911 and threatened to shoot himself, others, or police, around 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
The shooting happened in a rural area of Middleburg near Calendula Avenue and Cosmos Avenue off County Road 218.
AltIce was inside an RV behind a family home in the area where he lived when officers arrived.
Beseler said AltIce came out with a handgun and would not put it down when instructed by officers.
Two officers fired multiple shots, killing AltIce.
"Anytime someone makes a threat like that, our biggest concern is nobody else gets hurt, no officers get hurt and then hopefully we can talk the person out of doing what they plan to do and save their lives as well." Beseler said.
The officers involved in the shooting are relatively new to the sheriff's department. One has been on the force for two years and the other for one, Beseler said. Neither has been involved in an officer-involved shooting before.
As is typical in officer-involved shootings in Clay County, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate.
Beseler said Altice has a criminal history including many arrests. He said family members said Altice had been dealing with personal and family problems. He was staying in the RV as a guest on the property for about a month.
"I feel bad for the families of everyone involved and I feel bad for the officers who were put in this position," said Altice. "Unfortunately, if you point a gun at a police officer you are going to get shot. It is a cowardly and selfish act to put someone in the position of taking your life and then have to live with that as part of their life now."
Beseler recalled a suicide by cop incident last summer in Clay County and said these point to a larger problem.
"This is becoming an epidemic in our country and we need to get a handle on it through better mental health treatment," said Beseler. "We're seeing too many of these."