The man had what appeared to be a real gun. Deputies believe he may have intended to attempt 'suicide by cop.'
Flagler County deputies defused a tense situation outside the Flagler County courthouse the afternoon of March 21 when a young man was found with a replica handgun in what deputies believe may have been an attempt to commit "suicide by cop."
The incident happened just before 2:30 p.m., according to a Sheriff's Office news release.
A deputy working at the courthouse heard an argument in a moving black Nissan SUV in the courthouse parking lot, and approached the driver's side of the car.
The woman who was driving yelled to the deputy that her son was in the car with a gun. The deputy got behind cover, drew his firearm and was issuing commands, according to the news release, when the woman grabbed the gun from the man and threw it out the driver's side window toward the deputy.
The woman and her son, a 21-year-old, both stepped out of the car with their hands in the air, and deputies took the son into custody under a Baker Act to get him mental health treatment.
The gun was a Sig Sauer handgun replica without the orange markers that are usually used to differentiate replicas from real firearms.
The mother told deputies that she'd been driving around the courthouse parking lot trying to get the attention of a law enforcement officer because she was concerned about her son.
The 21-year-old's statements to deputies led them to believe that he may have intended to flash the replica weapon to get them to shoot him.
“This situation could have ended tragically,” Sheriff Rick Staly said in the news release. “Our deputies showed great restraint in de-escalating the situation instead of engaging the subject. This emotionally disturbed person may have been seeking to end his life. Our deputies did exactly what they were trained to do and I am very proud of them.”