TAMPA, Fla. -- Two off-duty Florida law-enforcement officers
fatally shot an armed, naked woman who confronted them at a social
gathering Saturday, authorities said.
The shooting occurred at
about 1:15 p.m. Saturday in Hernando County, north of Tampa. The county
sheriff's office said in a news release that the men were approached by
an "armed, naked and irrational female." The news release does not
identify the weapon, but it says "one or both of the law enforcement
officers fired their weapons, striking the female." She died at the
Both officers have been placed on administrative leave as
the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates the shooting in
the Spring Hill community.
Authorities have identified the
officers as Hernando County sheriff's Detective Rocky Howard and Tampa
police officer William Mechler, who have served six and four years,
respectively. Tampa police say Mechler was "off duty and acting in the
capacity of a private citizen."
Lt. Cinda Moore, a spokeswoman for
the Hernando sheriff's office, said in an email late Saturday that she
could not immediately identify the woman or disclose the weapon she was
carrying. She said she also could not comment on what the woman
specifically said or did or whether she was told to drop the weapon,
explaining that the FDLE is leading the investigation.
The Hernando County sheriff's office does permit the carrying of service weapons when off-duty, she said.
Tampa-area shooting comes two weeks after a naked, unarmed University
of South Alabama freshman was fatally shot by a campus police officer
after going to the police station there and pounding on the glass. The
shooting has led to protests by students.
Police said 18-year-old
Gil Collar had taken LSD and acted aggressively when an officer came
outside carrying a gun. The officer repeatedly backed away from the
student before firing. An attorney for the student's family says Collar
never touched the officer and the fatal shooting never should have
happened. Authorities have said a grand jury will review that shooting
to determine whether charges should be filed.