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Deputies Defuse Tense, 4-Hour Stand-Off With Armed Offender Near Seminole Woods

| February 8, 2013

William Sitton.

William Sitton.

William Sitton has a long history of trouble—criminal and psychological—in Flagler County, much of it involving aggravated battery charges and convictions, including battery on a cop five years ago, and probation violations that have landed him at the county jail nine times since 2008. But his run-ins with the law have never escalated so much to warrant more than jail time: The 35-year-old has never been to state prison.

Sitton lives on County Road 330 with his brother Gary, 39, who is blind. The residence is on a road just south of Seminole Woods in Palm Coast, though geographically it’s considered Bunnell.

The younger Sitton was back in jail early this morning (he was booked in at 4 a.m.) after a four-hour, sometimes grisly stand-off with Flagler County sheriff’s deputies, including the SWAT team, that ended when deputies incapacitated Sitton with bean bag rounds and pepper spray, even as they feared he might be armed: there were live ammunition rounds scattered in the house when a deputy first arrived at the scene. At one point Sitton made various statements about Satan and made hand gestures daring deputies to shoot him in the head.

“This was a dangerous situation which was skillfully defused by the deputies who were on scene. The house already was known to us as being problematic,” Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre said. “We are fortunate that these deputies were able to make this arrest using a non-lethal method.” Manfre, in office since early January, was noting the non-lethal resolution of the confrontation for a reason: in mid-December, deputies shot and killed a 32-year-old man in a close-quarter confrontation with him in his garage, on Brownstone Lane, as the man brandished a machete. The man’s family severely criticized the sheriff’s office for ending the confrontation by killing the man, who had a history of psychological issues.

Sitton, too, has had a troubled history: the sheriff’s office says it has responded to the Sitton property 84 times since 2008, over weapons and narcotics complaints, and suicide attempts by Sitton.

It all began on Thursday with a call from the house to 911. Gary Sitton told deputy Benjamin Jurec that he’d dialed 911 by mistake. But on the way there, Jurec had also learned that there was a warrant out for William, for a felony violation of probation. As soon as Jurec knocked on the door, William, who was seen through the kitchen window sitting at the kitchen table, got up and ran to the back of the house. Gary let Jurec in. Live ammunition was on the floor along with pieces of a gun. William wouldn’t respond to orders to come out. Gary was removed from the house as Jurec waited for back-up.

When other cops arrived, they could see William in his bedroom, through a window, with a knife, trying to cut himself, according to police reports filed after the incident. He then stood by the door taunting deputies to come in the room, telling them he had a firearm, and that he’d use it. Gary confirmed to the deputies that there was a gun in the house, but he didn’t know where it was. It wasn’t clear if it was the only gun—and if the pieces of the firearm the deputy had seen on the floor at first were the weapon in question.

The ordeal began a little before 10 p.m.

William Sitton then laid on his floor, covering his body with a blanket. His knife disappeared. He wouldn’t listen to deputies. That lasted four hours.

“We continued to verbally engage him and instructed him to exit the residence,” Lt. Paul Bovino, who heads the SWAT unit, wrote in his report. “At one point he stated that he would not take the blanket off because he did not want to be Tased. He was attempting to defeat our less lethal capabilities by shielding his body with a heavy blanket.”

Sitton then got up, still covered with the blanket, and went to the bathroom, shutting the door. A few minutes later he came out and raised his arms toward the deputies at the window. Deputy Jason Neat used a spade shovel with a wooden handle to break the window, giving clear access to the 40mm sponge impact rounds (known as bean bag rounds) that deputy Paul DeSousa then fired. DeSousa fired four such rounds. Bovino followed with made to Sitton’s face.

“He eventually stood up and began to comply with my commands,” Bovino wrote. Sitton was handcuffed, examined by paramedics at the scene, and taken to the county jail, where he remains Friday afternoon.

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30 Responses for “Deputies Defuse Tense, 4-Hour Stand-Off With Armed Offender Near Seminole Woods”

  1. Good job says:

    Kudos to the deputies who handled this in a professional and non-lethal manner. I would like to think that Mr. Manfre’s good policies and management style are already trickling down and making a difference. Use of deadly/fatal force in the December incident, in my humble opinion, was completely unjustified and shameful. I hope Mr. Manfre, in addition to the outside investigation, is looking into that incident. I hate to say this, but enough such incidents around the country compel me to do so: it is curious that the person in this incident had a long history with the FCSO and was white. I am very happy he was not hurt. The person in the December incident was black, and I don’t recall reading anything about a history with the FCSO. It is incredibly sad he died that day.

  2. glad fly says:

    on a serious note great job FCSO. there’s a fine line between rubber bullets and real ones. i’m sure this man’s family is happy with the outcome.

  3. concerned citizen says:

    This happens because the Judges are not tough enough, Really 9 times since 2008? What is going to take to put someone like this in the state prison? Maybe he will have to actually kill someone…:( Thanks alot Flagler County Judge…NOT!

  4. Samuel Smith says:

    It’s really sad when someone that doesn’t see eye to eye with the community they live in resorts to these sort of actions to get attention.

  5. Quail Hollow resident says:

    The deputies did a good job. The fact this household was able to possess guns speaks volumes. Thanks NRA & right wing tea publicans. Thank you for your 2nd amendment support of these stable citizens. I’m sure they will be able to buy more guns at the next gun show with no background checks. This is a great country we live in. Take America back!

    • Go Figure~ says:

      First of all the report says that a gun was in the home but not whom it was registered to if at all nor who owned it and if there are others that reside in the home with the brothers. You can create many laws for gun control such as a background checks at the gun shows but does that keep you safe from the owners crazy brother? What about cops in LA killing other officers, this man served in our armed forces and was supposed to serve and protect our streets, has had a background check and certified training with guns and safety. Point being, it is ignorant to say ones support to protect a right to be able to protect themselves if needed is the cause of what is wrong with America. In fact it is actually that mentality that plays a huge role in where we are today and why the parties can never see eye to eye. I am sure there are wise democrats who are just as much in support of the 2nd amendment as us right wing tea party republicans. I also support all of the amendments not just that one :) Food for thought..the older brother may have bought that gun to protect himself from his younger brother..if so he should have known it’s location and had it locked in a safe. What we need is to make owners accountable for safe keeping and maybe instead of classes only being for concealed permits being for ownership period.

    • Anonymous says:

      wtf?? who says the guns belong to him? maybe he stole them or got them illegally. stop knocking the nra and other people who choose to exercise their second amendment rights. Yes, this is a great country because we do have these rights.

  6. confidential says:

    Great job done by Sheriff Manfre and his deputies!! I believe this man needs more mental health attention than jail, like many more as him and running loose out there. Stop wasting our taxes in foreign aid and policing the world and use those funds to take care of our own first!

  7. Sherry Epley says:

    And where are the Florida State Mental Institutions? Oh Yes, the only one closed in 1947. Also a great example of our need for gun control on a “National” level. We are all very fortunate no one was seriously hurt by this very troubled person who has slid through the huge cracks in our judicial system. He needs to be removed from society before something really tragic happens. The question is since we have no mental facility for such circumstances. . . Where does he go for treatment? Or is prison the only option. . . and only after he’s really hurt himself/someone else?

    • Anonymous says:

      @ Sherry Epley: ” He needs to be removed from society”? Wow. The new FCSO obviously did a stellar job in handling this situation. And Yes, currently jail and prison is the American socities only opion at present for people with serious mental issues. Pardon me if I’m wrong but it sounds as if you would like to put them on a train to Aushwitz. You may feel differently about “removing these people from society” when severe mental illness strikes one of your very own; your child, grandchild, brother, sister, close friend. It does not discriminate.

  8. Magnolia says:

    Something tells me this man had one hell of a life growing up. I doubt very seriously those guns were registered. He wouldn’t qualify. All the gun laws in the world won’t stop this. Very glad he wasn’t killed. Very sad. These guys will still do the things they do.

  9. Trollololo says:

    Manfre is the man!

  10. Anonymous says:

    @Good Job

    The reason the deputies were able to handle this man without lethal force was because they knew what they were in for with this guys and his family. They’ve been there 84 times and I’m sure the deputies responding were aware of his mental health issues. The man in December who was fatally shot had no such history. The deputies there were not prepared before hand. The deputies that acted that day in December are heroes that allow you to sleep comfortably at night.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This is sad at the same time cause him having mental problems and being a addict, its hard to find peace. Even with him being heavy into god

  12. PCGator says:

    Yes the second amendment is strongly supported by typically right wing conservatives but it is the reason you are not speaking German, Russian, or Japanese. Ideally people like this would not have guns but taking them away from everyone is not the answer either. Oh and the little snake you referred to is a eastern diamond back rattle snake that Benjamin Franklin said we should send over to King George during the revolutionary war. When you step on them is when they are most dangerous, hence “don’t tread on me”.

    • markingthedays says:

      PCGator, I support the right to bear arms but your argument is flawed. You make it sound as if private citizens fought of some sort of invasion in World War 2.

  13. RNYPD says:

    The deputies in the December incident were CLEARED of all wrong doing by FDLE and are all back to work! That incident had nothing to do with the color of his skin. It had everything to do with his attempt to kill a Deputy with a Machette. In this incident the guy did not try to kill the Deputy which gave the Deputy time to wait for SWAT to arrive and fully access all their options.Those are the details that kept this man alive throughout the incident. Both residences had a long history with the agency. Would you rather the Deputies had just backed away and let the man with a knife go BACK out into the street with the children?
    Thank you to the FCSO Deputies and particularly the SWAT. They have been allowed to train over the past eight years so they were fully prepared to handle this incident. It didn’t just happen that they became that capable. From what I understand that Lieutenant was a Captain a few months ago.

    • Ben Dover says:

      RNYPD , Sorry dude your wrong , that situation was totally handled wrong , you had cops with guns , and one guy with a machete , they should of gotten everybody out of house and away from him , called in someone with bean bags or rubber bullets , tranquilizer gun whatever , they should have diffused the situation from a distance till any of the other methods arrived, and worse case scenario should of been a leg shot to bring him down if he tried charging , they killed a person who was never before in trouble , he needed help, not killing

  14. RNYPD says:

    New gun control will NEVER keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, only out of the hands of the law abiding but do not let the facts get in your way!

  15. ay yai yai says:

    All jokes aside…… I see a person who seems to have some handicaps both physical and mental. This guy should NOT be allowed a gun, or knife, or bat, or automobile.

  16. The Truth says:

    The jokes about this mans lazy eye is the disgusting world that we live in. This man needs help, and he needs it now. It’s cases like this that we need to take seriously and our lawmakers and us as individuals need to figure out how we can help someone before they do something that’s irreversible. I will pray for this man. I will pray that he gets the help that he needs. He’s still young enough to turn his life around, get on his feet and make something of himself.

  17. Brad says:

    Sounds like the whole thing was blown way out of proportion as usual , the brother said he dialed 911 by accident, its like that guy in woodlands arguing with wife while buttering his his toast , next thing you know , the roads closed and he`s got a deadly weapon , this dept is a bunch of lucy goosy`s ……the sky is falling ….the sky is falling

  18. Chumlee Jr says:

    If the white man was shot with a bean bag why wasn’t the black man shot with a bean bag as well? Did the supervisor on the scene have the bean bag in his trunk and completely ignore it’s use? Did he call for a swat team member or another supervisor who could have brought it to the scene? Is there a protocol for supervisors (Sgt on Patrol) to have a bean bag in the car at all times? And, if not, why not? If Sheriff Manfre answered yes to any of the above questions it’s possible this veteran would be alive today. That’s a powerful statement.

    • Ray Thorne says:

      Since it appears you’re making it a Black/White issue maybe it will help to know that the supervisor who was there is black.

  19. Sherry Epley says:

    Please! Saying that we should not have gun control because criminals will still figure out a way of getting guns. Is the same as saying we shouldn’t have any laws against murder because criminals will still find a way to murder.

    Just how many of the recent gun deaths and injuries were carried out by criminals anyway? Many of them were perpetrated by people who need help just as this person does. As I noted before, this fellow needs treatment in a mental facility. . . help that the state of Florida doesn’t bother to provide. . . for him. . . or for the many others who need it

  20. BlueBoy says:

    A strong Well Done! to all FC Sheriffs involved. That is the kind of bravery, clear thinking and outcome that comes with true professionalism and character! May God bless you all.

  21. Chumlee Jr says:

    Police shootings involving death should not be overseen in Florida by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It’s the fox watching over the hen house. There is perceived bias in favor of the officer involved.

    Police shootings involving homicide whether justifiable or not should be decided by Grand Juries in this State. It removes suspicion and the smallest hint of a tainted decision by a fellow law enforcemenet agency.

  22. Anonymous says:

    @ Sherry Epely – some of the recent gun deaths were carried out by LEO’s themselves, or George Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watch captain, or whatever he was.

    Yes, this fellow apparently needs long term treatment in an appropriate facility. Wonder if he has insurance? Where in Flagler county do you think he should start looking for treatment? No one at the SO, or at the jail, or amy place i know of has a magic wand that can make the “help he finally needs” magically appear simply because he was arrested. There is no mental health facility here and if he does not have insurance, he is out of luck. That’s what you call a dilemma.

  23. resident says:

    This is neither a black/white issue, nor a Fleming/Manfre issue. These deputies deserve the credit for their actions! Stop applauding Manfre and pay attention…..since he took office, this county’s residents are far less safe

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