No Bull, No Fluff, No Smudges
Your news source for
Flagler, Florida and Beyond

Woman At Center of Suicide-By-Cop Attempt in 2015 Kills Herself With a Gun Halloween Night

| November 2, 2016

stacy culotta standoff

Stacy Culotta, to the left, on her porch a year ago as captured in a still from a sheriff’s deputy’s body camera, during a stand-off with three deputies.

Stacy Culotta is the 37-year-old Palm Coast resident who 13 months ago had attempted suicide-by-cop as she pointed a gun at three Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies in her yard at 8 Pine Brook Drive. The stand-off ended without a shot fired thanks to the negotiating skills of a veteran sergeant at the scene, who eventually immobilized her with a Taser dart. The weapon she was holding turned out to be a BB gun.

It had been one of several suicide attempts. Monday evening, a day after being released from a psychiatric facility after yet another suicide attempt, Culotta killed herself at her home as her family was trick or treating in the neighborhood. She got a .38-caliber gun from her mother’s bedroom and shot herself. Her parents and her 9-year-old son heard the gunshot as they were rounding a corner in the neighborhood, and initially thought it was fireworks, according to a sheriff’s report.

Deputies were dispatched to the P-Section house just after 8 p.m. Monday. They found Culotta in the bathroom, critically wounded in the head but at that point still breathing. Paramedics brought her into the hallway where they rendered aid, with a Florida Hospital Flagler physician patched in by radio, but the efforts were not successful. The doctor pronounced Culotta dead at 8:27 p.m.

Earlier that evening Culotta’s parents had taken her son to a trick or treating event, had come home before going on to a neighbor’s house and asked Culotta if she wanted to go along, but she declined. When her 65-year-old father came home, he called out in the house and did not hear her respond. He searched the house and finally found her in the bathroom, where he also noticed the gun—a Sig-Sauer WG—by his daughter’s right side. He picked it up and unloaded two rounds into the sink then called 911, the report states.

He would later tell authorities that his daughter “has had numerous suicide attempts in the past, the most recent being approximately three weeks ago where Stacy allegedly took 30 pills,” the report states. She was kept at a Stewart-Marchman Behavioral Healthcare facility from Oct. 21 to Oct. 30. She’d been released Sunday.

Deputies had been called to the Pine Brook Drive house that afternoon, and took a report from Culotta’s mother, of an alleged larceny. Culotta herself had not been staying at the house before her treatment at Stewart-Marchman, but rather at a residence at 3345 Old Kings Road South. She told deputies that while she was at the health care facility her belongings had been removed from the Old Kings Road residence and placed outside the door at her parents’ house, with some 80 missing pills for a prescription she’d filled.

In September 2015, Culotta called 911 from her parents’ house but wasn’t clear about why, triggering a response by deputies to the P-Section house. They found Culotta sitting in the screened-in back porch, having a drink, and holding what to the cops was a firearm. Sgt. Michael van Buren, a 28-year veteran of the sheriff’s office at the time, was among the responders, along with deputies James Crosby and Fiona Ebrill.  Van Buren, who has since retired from the department, calmly spoke to Culotta for 15 or 16 minutes before Culotta points the gun at the cops, causing van Buren to fire his Taser and ending the stand-off. The incident was captured on a body camera.

Culotta was arrested and charged with obstruction and aggravated assault. She pleaded no contest to the assault charge and was sentenced to 36 months’ probation.

The incident drew national attention and highlighted what had been a series of such stand-offs where sheriff’s deputies had been able to de-escalate a tense situation, without firing their guns but instead using nonlethal means. Van Buren was named last year’s Deputy of the Year, soon before he announced his retirement.

“My heart goes out to her family, especially her child,” van Buren said today. “They have been in my thoughts and prayers since I heard of the incident.”

Culotta’s suicide is the eighth recorded in the county since Aug. 11, an extremely high rate for Flagler County, compared to previous years.

5 Responses for “Woman At Center of Suicide-By-Cop Attempt in 2015 Kills Herself With a Gun Halloween Night”

  1. The Geode says:

    Given the fact that people like ME can get shot reaching for his license, the first attempt at pointing a gun at the police would have ended in a successful “suicide”.

  2. Judy Delarosby says:

    My heart goes out to the family of Ms. Culotta. You have suffered a terrible loss, one you’ll never be able to make sense of. I urge you to call Hospice, they have a traumatic loss program for survivors of suicide, adults and children. There is no charge for this service and it helps, I know. My deepest sympathy to your family.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Keeping guns within the reach of a suicidal person is never a good idea. My condolences to the family and friends of this troubled person. May she R.I.P..

  4. Anonymous says:

    Judy. Thank u for not judging.

Leave a Reply

FlaglerLive's forum, as noted in our comment policy, is for debate and conversation that adds light and perspective to articles. Please be courteous, don't attack fellow-commenters or make personal attacks against individuals in stories, and try to stick to the subject. All comments are moderated.

Read FlaglerLive's Comment Policy | Subscribe to the Comment Feed rss flaglerlive comment feed rss

More stories on FlaglerLive

FlaglerLive Email Alerts

Enter your email address to get alerts.


support flaglerlive palm coast flagler county news pierre tristam
fcir florida center for investigative reporting
FlaglerLive is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization | P.O. Box 254263, Palm Coast, FL 32135 | Contact the Editor by email | (386) 586-0257 | Sitemap | Log in