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Man says he wanted deputies to shoot him before he died

Posted at 10:37 PM, Nov 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-05 22:40:52-05

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. Charlotte County Sheriff's Deputies are investigating an officer-involved shooting that left one man dead in a McDonald’s parking lot in Port Charlotte.

George Smith, 72, of Arcadia was shot and killed by a deputy as he got ready to shoot at law enforcement. 

Sheriff Bill Prummell said the suspect made his intentions for deputies very clear early on.

“He said that he wanted them to shoot him or he was going to shoot us,” said Prummell.

The sheriff released the 9-1-1 audio of a witness warning deputies.

"He has a gun. It’s an automatic AK-47. He said if you don’t take him out. He'll take you out,” said the witness. 

The sheriff said it all started when Smith was seen driving the wrong way on 41, and pulled into the McDonald’s on Tamiami Trail. He showed a woman the rifle in his front seat. That witness tried to talk him down. 

The witness who stayed with the suspect until deputies arrived said she believed he had a mental illness. The sheriff's office says she kept him calm until they showed up.

On the 9-1-1 audio the woman told deputies Smith’s request for them to come to the Mcdonald’s, and he wanted them to be armed and prepared for confrontation.

Witness: Okay, I'll get them. You want me to get them here? 

Smith: They need to come and get me. 

Witness: Alright, I'll have them come and get you. 

Smith: And they need to come prepared. 

Witness: They want to come prepared I understand they want to come prepared.

Deputies said Smith pointed his AK-47 at them and refused to obey their commands to drop it. They fired a bean bag gun at him, but it didn't work. Instead, they said he cocked his rifle. 

“Another deputy from another angle saw this, and fired his weapon four times, striking and killing the individual,” said Pummell.

Smith was rushed to Bayfront Port Charlotte Hospital where he died. The sheriff said before the shooting, Smith told a witness he had killed three people. But the sheriff's office has not found any evidence that actually happened.

The officers who fired weapons have been placed on administrative leave and the shooting investigation is ongoing.