Florida

Florida Keys man kills himself after standoff in Key Largo

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies found a man dead inside his Key Largo home Tuesday afternoon, July, 23, 2019, after trying to negotiate with him to come outside peacefully for about three hours.
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies found a man dead inside his Key Largo home Tuesday afternoon, July, 23, 2019, after trying to negotiate with him to come outside peacefully for about three hours. File photo

Monroe County sheriff’s deputies tried for hours Tuesday afternoon to negotiate with an armed Key Largo man holed up inside his home to come outside peacefully.

When they finally decided to enter the house about three hours later, they found he fatally shot himself, according to sheriff’s office spokesman Adam Linhardt.

No one else was inside the home, Linhardt said.

The incident happened on Silver Spring Drive, a street in a bay side subdivision off mile marker 100. Neighbor Shelby Lynn Baer said on a Facebook posting that deputies had her family evacuate their home while armed police stood outside the man’s house.

A deputy arrived at the house around 2:30 p.m. to serve an eviction notice on the man living there, Frederick Witmer Rice, 52, Linhardt said. A 911 operator told the deputy that Rice called saying that if he sees an officer, he will shoot himself. The deputy then heard a loud “pop,” and “retreated from the immediate area,” Linhardt said.

The sheriff’s office SWAT team then arrived and “cordoned off Silver Spring Drive and the immediate area for residents’ safety,” Linhardt said.

After trying to contact Rice for several hours, deputies entered his home at 5:30 p.m. and found him dead inside his bedroom with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Deputies also found a suicide note, Linhardt said.

David Goodhue covers the Florida Keys and South Florida for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald. Before joining the Herald, he covered Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.
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