Volusia County Sheriff’s deputies attempting to negotiate with a suicidal man armed with a handgun opened fire and killed 52-year-old Kenneth Morrow of Daytona North Wednesday evening in Ormond Beach after Morrow “advanced” on deputies while brandishing a gun, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office had requested Volusia County’s assistance at about 4 p.m. Wednesday when Morrow sent text messages to his ex-girlfriend threatening suicide. His cell phone was tracked by authorities to Highbridge Road near Ormond Beach, just west of the Halifax River.
Just after 4 p.m., a deputy found Morrow sitting between the edge of the roadway and the marsh, in the area of 259 Highbridge, near his parked motorcycle. Morrow, according to a police report, “took a black in color revolver and placed it under his chin yelling for Deputy Currie to ‘Back off or I will do it!’ Deputy Currie retreated to his patrol car and moved back to a safe distance.” He then notified a supervising sergeant while maintaining visual contact with Morrow. A perimeter was established around the area.
Morrow continued to text suicidal messages, including demands for police to leave him alone. He also pointed the gun at himself at times, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies attempted to talk to him by calling his cell phone and sending him text messages. He initially ignored them but then responded with more suicidal statements. At one point Morrow fired his gun, but it is unknown what he may have been shooting at. Then at about 6:15 p.m., Morrow, according to a sheriff’s release, “advanced on deputies in an aggressive manner while brandishing his weapon and refusing to heed their warnings to stop. Deputies protected themselves by firing at him. The man was struck and he fell to the ground. Once deputies determined that it was safe, paramedics approached the man and pronounced him dead at 6:25.”
The two deputies involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave, as is normal practice whenever police are involved in a fatal shooting, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has been called in to investigate. The FDLE’s involvement is also normal practice, to avoid conflicts of interest.
The two deputies involved in the shooting were 38-year-old Christopher Jones and 34-year-old Joel Hernandez. Jones has been with the Sheriff’s Office since May 2002 and Hernandez has been with the Sheriff’s Office since February 2003.
Morrow was a resident of Guava Lane in the Mondex, where he lived in a small mobile home.
Three weeks ago, Flagler County deputies shot and killed Troy Gordon, 32, during a confrontation in Gordon’s garage, where Gordon had allegedly brandished a machete and threatened the life of a deputy with it. Gordon had been seen earlier that afternoon walking along his street, with the machete in one hand and a Bible in the other, and at times praying in the street.