Sheriff: Man shot by deputy had attacked them with a knife

Posted at 1:35 PM, Mar 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-20 18:39:13-04

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. -- The former deputy that was shot over the weekend by a Charlotte County deputy had a large knife in his hand at the time, according to Sheriff Bill Prummell.

At a news conference in Punta Gorda Monday, Sheriff Prummell provided more details about Friday night's confrontation in Englewood that left retired deputy Casey Roberts in the hospital.

Prummell says Roberts had lunged at CCSO deputies Eric Knapp and Brook Dooley with a knife before Knapp shot Roberts in the leg at a distance of five feet.  Neither deputy was injured, and Roberts is now recovering in the hospital and is under surveillance. 

Roberts was a Charlotte County Deputy from 2004-2008, when he retired after a medical injury on the job.  Sheriff Prummell said he never had any issues with Roberts when he was on the force.

Since leaving the force, deputies have responded to several domestic calls at his home. He has 3 DUIs on his record.

But Friday night, Sheriff Prummell say deputies responded to a domestic call in which Roberts' wife said he assaulted her and struck their 4 year old child with a phone.  The deputies say Roberts was seen trying to hurt himself with a kitchen knife before they Tased him.  That angered him, causing him to lunge at Knapp with the kitchen knife. "He began to lung toward Deputy Knapp and began swinging the knife in an upward motion," Sheriff Prummell said.

Knapp shot him in the upper right thigh, causing it to shatter and he fell immediately. It's unknown if anything was in Roberts' system at the time, but deputies said he was in the possession of cocaine.

Deputies are receiving counseling and victims are talking to victim advocates. Both wife and child are reported to be okay.

In February, deputies repsonded to a very similar call. They shot Jacob Taulbee eight times after he charged at deputies with two knives. He died. Sheriff Prummell made no apologies for the amount of force used against Taublee. "We don't shoot to shoot knives out of hands, we don't train to shoot them in the arm, shoot them in the leg, we shoot to stop the threat," he said.

However, in this case, deputies only shot their former colleague once in the leg. We asked the Sheriff if their relationship with Roberts played a role in how they shot him. "That just happened to be where the bullet struck him, luckily for Mr. Roberts," said Sheriff Prummell. "And luckily for my deputy because it's difficult taking a life."

Fox 4 reached out to Roberts' family, who said the behavior is unlike him, despite deputies responding to almost ten domestic violence calls at his house over the year. They added that his wife also has an arrest record. Fox 4 found two domestic violence charges on her record in Charlotte County. Their children are in DCF custody according to family members.

No deputies were hurt during the incident.