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After a 2 1/2-Hour Hunt, Man Feared Armed Surrenders in Anxiety-Ridden F-Section

| April 1, 2013

The search is focusing on the area between Forest Grove and Matanzas Woods Parkway. Click on the image for larger view.

The search is focusing on the area between Forest Grove and Matanzas Woods Parkway. Click on the image for larger view.

Last Updated: 9:50 p.m.

9:15 p.m. Update: Code Red was cancelled, and the man deputies have been searching for since 6:30 p.m. was found just after 9 p.m., according to Flagler County Sheriff’s Spokesman Bob Weber.

“He is in custody at this point,” Weber said. “We were unable to locate a weapon on him.” A K-9 unit was going to search the surrounding woods to locate a weapon, if he was indeed carrying one. The man knew he was being searched for, and had laid down in the woods. He will be Baker Acted, once his debriefing with sheriff’s investigators, which was ongoing at 9:15 p.m., is over.

Aaron Dorris. Click on the image for larger view.

Aaron Dorris. Click on the image for larger view.

The man is Aaron James Dorris, 29.

“I don’t know if we’re going to have charges on him at this time,” Weber said.

Tonight, after an intense manhunt that left Palm Coast’s F Section on a knife’s edge, Dorris was located in the area of Fitzgerald and Fieldstone Lanes, several streets southeast from the crisis-point of origin at 18 Forest Grove Lane, and he surrendered peacefully.

There was a remarkable twist, or pre-twist, to the story: earlier in the day, sheriff’s deputies had been dispatched to I-95, where they picked up Dorris, who had been sleeping on the side of the highway. They brought him home, Weber said.

“It was successful in that no one got injured, the suspect didn’t, nor did any of our deputies. It was good teamwork,” Undersherrif Rick Staly said. “We established a good perimeter and with the support of Volusia County Sheriff’s Air One helicopter, they were able to spot him.”

Air One’s FLIR system played a key role in the operation. The acronym stands for Forward-Looking Infra-Red, which allows the electronic eye to look for heat sources. That gave Dorris away.

The operation was under the command of Commander Paul Bovino, newly elevated to head the sheriff’s office’s patrol division, with Staly arriving at the scene after he left a gathering with retired cops. Bovino also heads the department’s 23-member SWAT team, which was in action this evening. Working in the operation’s favor was the coincidental timing of the first call, which occurred around the time when shifts change. So Bovino was able to hold on to deputies from the previous shift in addition to the new shift’s deputies, adding to manpower.

Bovino, Staly said, did an “Outstanding job. Our entire SWAT team and our deputies did a phenomenal job. This is what they train for, and they saw that their training pays off.” He added: “You train for this hoping you’ll never have to use it. But this is why you train.”

A baseball game at Matanzas High School had to be cancelled because of the incident, which unfolded within sight of campus.

Earlier: The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office launched a significant and urgent manhunt at 6:30 p.m. in Palm Coast’s F Section, around Forest Grove Drive, after reports that an armed, mentally ill man began circulating. The man, later identified as Aaron James Dorris, was believed to be hiding in the woods behind 18 Forest Grove.

The man is described as a white male, 30, wearing gray jeans, no shirt, with some tattoos. In a reverse-911 call, residents of the area were urged to stay indoors in a so-called “Code Red” situation, their doors locked. The man is carrying a semi-automatic pistol, Undersheriff Rick Staly said.

Flagler County Fire Flight, the county’s emergency helicopter, is involved in the search, which is taking place around Forest Grove and in the woods north of that street, toward Matanzas Woods Parkway. Law enforcement and Flagler County Fire Rescue unit have set up a major staging area at the school, where a command post is also set up.

“At this point we’re trying to contain the area,” Staly said. “We’re activating our negotiating team to come out and try to communicate with him.” As of 7:30 p.m., there was no contact with the man, whose identity is being withheld as the case may turn into a Baker Act situation, when the individual is apprehended and sent to a mental health facility in Daytona Beach.


There are fears, however, that the man intends to harm others and himself. That triggered the reverse-911 call. “It’s an awareness call just that this is an ongoing situation,” Staly said. He added that the man was not in a house at last report, but either hiding in the woods or, possibly, beyond those woods by now.

If anyone sees anything, “anybody who looks suspicious,” Staly said, they should immediately call 911, and not intervene.

Evacuations are possible in the immediate area of where the man is believed to be, but haven’t been confirmed. “If there are nearby houses to where he is at, then that would be something that we would normally do,” Staly said. “The last update that we had we think he’s in the woods behind that house,” at 18 Forest Grove.

A sheriff’s office news release issued at 8:04 p.m. states that “Initial reports received by the Sheriff’s Office indicated the man may be suicidal and may have stolen a relative’s gun.”

Some roads have been closed, but those are primarily residential, secondary roads, Staly said, though Palm Harbor Drive and Forest Grove are affected, as is the approach to Matanzas Woods from Old Kings Road. At 7:45 p.m., the Palm Coast Fire Police was dispatched to control and reroute traffic in those areas.

At 8 p.m., Volusia County’s Air One helicopter relieved Fire Flight, whose crew had been on since 8 a.m., flying several missions on firefighting missions. The Flagler County Sheriff’s SWAT team was also involved.

Flagler County’s emergency crews had their hands full Monday evening: aside from the Forest Grove situation and the Route 11 fire, which had occupied half a dozen units over the weekend and into Monday, along with Fire Flight, a vehicle fire on I-95 south (at mile marker 296) charred a car there at 8:15 p.m., requiring the response of fire units and fire police personnel. That fire was brought under control at 8:29 p.m., with no reported injuries.

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24 Responses for “After a 2 1/2-Hour Hunt, Man Feared Armed Surrenders in Anxiety-Ridden F-Section”

  1. Susan Ryff says:

    I live in the f-sec..not far from Forest Grove….we didn’t even know what was happening till your article posted on my FB page……we never received a 911 reverse call…why?

  2. Jeannie says:

    I live in this area and did not receive a reverse 911 call, nor did several other people in the area and yes I am signed up for it. I get weather alerts all the time. I was going to walk home tonight but decided to catch a ride. I am glad I did now.

  3. confidential says:

    Good job Sheriff and deputies!!

  4. Sue Dickinson says:

    Thank you Flaglerlive for your post. Without this information the school board and superintendent would not have known that there was a situation at one of our school properties.

  5. Dee says:

    Was going to go for a run with my girlfriend not far form that area and we noticed all the helicopters and eventually saw the swat team drive by! We decided not to go run but wish that there were some type of alerts sent out in this type of situation! We were clueless!! We also saw
    Others out joggin at that time! No one knew that they were potentially in danger or that any code red event was taking place!

  6. Dee says:

    Ps glad he was caught!! Good work

  7. Deep South says:

    This guy should have been Baker Act, and institutionalized earlier in the day, normal people don’t sleep on the side of I 95. Why in the hell was he released to roam the streets again ? Where the common sense here ?

  8. MHSParent says:

    My child was at Matanzas for an activity practice, and I would like to thank Mr. Seybold for checking on the campus and making sure that our kids were safely evacuated.

  9. real people says:

    Good job Sheriff, deputies,volusia and Flagler counties air support and Flagler live as usual

  10. john says:

    Great job Sheriff, and deputies. I can safely say i cast my vote for sheriff in the right direction. Thank everyone again.

  11. confidential says:

    To Deep South; he was found “sleeping”in the side of the I-95 not threatening his own or others lives to fall under the requirement for Baker Act. , specially if with mental problems history. Now if in a possession of a weapon then Baker Act kicks in I believe. Our law enforcement did as law requires and I sure appreciate them.
    Lets just be very happy or at least satisfied that we reside in this county and Palm Coast and not here:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/31/us-exxon-pipeline-spill-idUSBRE92U00220130331
    Where just GOP Senator tuning DRILL BABY DRILL lobbying, really endangers/destroys residents, their mascots and wildlife lives and their environment.

  12. Meme says:

    I live on Fieldstone and think the Sheriff’s office did a wonderful job.. The patrol cars were stationed all along Fieldstone which is a horseshoe and the outside perimeter of where the suspect was last seen……………..then they worked their way inward……………………….we all got phone calls and were told by the police to stay indoors………I’m sure everyone inbetween that horseshoe and Forest Grove was notified and aware of what was going on. Sure enough he was found within a stones throw of my house and I am thankful that the search ended peacefully. Thank you Flagler Sheriff’s Office and anyone else involved.

  13. Mary Mcdonough says:

    I want to thank the Sheriff for the phone call alert, I called my neighbor, who was not aware, & lives alone. We locked the doors & put all outside lights on. Since we live in the horseshoe area, it was a blessing getting the call, that it was all over, We were able to sleep in peace.

  14. fla native says:

    it’s got to be something in the water in this town.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Outstanding job?
    Well handled?
    Very concerned parent!
    Why wasn’t the game at matanzas high called off right at 6:30 when this first happened?
    Why wait until almost 8:00?
    Alot of lives where put In Danger!
    I pulled in and out of the parking lot of the school 3 times while this was all going on trying get ahold of my child and was not stopped once my the police to see what I was doing?

  16. John Doe says:

    Outstanding job?
    I am a concerned parent .
    If this search started at 6:3O
    Why was it almost 8:00 before the game at the school was called off and the kids sent home?
    I drove back an forth 3 times, in and out of the school parking lot 3 times and was not stopped and questioned once?
    Glad no one was hurt, but this should have been announced alot sooner than it was

  17. Anonymous says:

    But wait – did he do anything wrong or illegal? I’ll re-read the article but all I’ve read so far was he was picked up sleeping by the road and taken home, and then later on all heck breaks loose, roads are closed, code red, and he surrenders peacefully. It sounds more like this poor man’s family needs to be Baker Acted.

  18. Tully says:

    Wait till the heat of summer when things really get crazy. Too many people, not enough jobs to keep them busy. Most home owners stay LOCKED UP in their little homes. Only to join a neighbor on occasion and talk about how violent this town has become.

  19. Alfred E. Newman says:

    Palm Coast and its colorful people. A one-horse town with a Dodge City bent .

  20. Anonymous says:

    Let me try again. Did this man do anything wrong? From what I read, the FCSO is still trying to determine whether there’s going to be charges on him. Obviously the SO did a great job twice in the same day with this man. They gave him a ride home, which I think was very good. And second, I would guess at best, there were unconfirmed reports on him, and the SO took him in peacefully, as he surrendered peacefully.

  21. IMO says:

    This young man was being sought by the Flagler Sheriff’s Department because he was suicidal.

    The Sheriff’s Department did an excellent job in finally locating him before he harmed himself.

    He was never a threat to the community but rather a threat to himself.

    Kudos to the Finagler Sheriff personnel who did not stop looking for him until they had located him and safely took him into custody so he can hopefully get the medical help he needs.

    The members of the Flagler Sheriff’s Department should be very proud of themselves for they probably saved this young man’s life. That is what being a police officer is all about. Saving lives.

  22. ryan says:

    Glad no one made they perp sound like a victim this time. That happened when that machete wielding guy was killed a few months ago.

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