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Friends remember home invasion suspect in Putnam County as someone with a kind soul

Reggie Best was shot and killed Wednesday morning. Deputies say he had a gun while refusing to leave a woman's home.

INTERLACHEN, Fla. — Putnam County's Reggie Best is dead after the Putnam County Sheriff's Office says a 67-year-old woman shot and killed him while protecting herself in her home.

Putnam County Sheriff Gator DeLoach is praising the quick actions by the homeowner, but the people who knew Best say that this is a cautionary tale about the effects of drugs.

The area around Silver Lake in Interlachen is quiet, much like the way that Reggie Best lived his life. Best's friends and neighbors said that he was a reliable repairman who often helped anyone he could.

Best built a ramp and rebuilt a dock for his neighbor across the street as well as other projects for people in the neighborhood. One neighbor recalls his constant smile while wearing a bandanna.

But something was different Tuesday night.

According to a 911 call that Best made on Tuesday night, he saw individuals dressed in orange standing outside his home in a menacing way. In a second call to 911 that night, he said the individuals in orange were actively breaking into his home. 

A police report states that deputies checked his residence and determined all the doors were locked and secure.

People who knew Best believe something like drugs altered his mind that night. Best sliced through the screen of his bedroom window, jumped out of the window and tore off into the forest behind his home.

Nearly half a mile later the police report states that Best banged on a woman's door after 3 a.m. with a gun in his hand. The police report states that the woman fired, which killed Best.

The shooting is still being investigated, but Putnam County Sheriff H.D. "Gator" DeLoach released this statement:

This call for service is a perfect example of why I continue to support and fight daily for the rights of law-abiding residents to own firearms. All firearm owners have a responsibility not only to themselves, but also to their families to maintain proficiency with a gun, as our victim here today clearly has. If it were not for her foresight to arm herself, the outcome could have been much graver. It’s unfortunate that Best was struggling with some apparently profound issues and posed a deadly threat to the victim and her family. She absolutely had the right to defend herself and I’m grateful that her decisive action stopped the threat, and eliminated the risk of further loss of life, making her entire neighborhood safer.

Those who knew Best remember him as a kind man who suffered through an uncharacteristic and tragic night.

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