Flagler County Sheriff’s units converged on Heroes Park in Palm Coast just before 8:30 p.m. Thursday after a report of shots fired there, and were in a standoff with an armed man, Tim Sturman, who used to be a Flagler Beach police officer. The standoff lasted until 10 p.m., when the man surrendered peacefully.
Sturman was initially reportedly not threatening to do harm to anyone but himself, eliciting unnerving memories of the October suicide at Heroes Park of former Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy Joseph Delarosby, who had recently retired from the sheriff’s office. The first-year anniversary of Delarosby’s death is in six days.
“He is a retired law enforcement officer from Flagler Beach,” the sheriff’s chief spokesman said of the man at Heroes Park about an hour into the standoff. “We have him surrounded, we have done evacuations of several homes in the area,” he said, “we’re trying to negotiate to have him surrender peacefully.”
Sturman had worked at the Flagler Beach Police Department until this summer (his Facebook page said he left in July), though he’d been on leave for several months before that. He’d worked for the department previously, then had stints as a police officer with Bunnell and with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission before returning to Flagler Beach, where he’d started as a volunteer fireman many years ago.
Just before 11 p.m., Jim Troiano, the sheriff’s chief spokesman, narrated the succession of events that took place this evening, leading up to what Sturman had said would be his suicide: at 7:46 p.m., a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy got a call from his wife, who had been in contact with Sturman’s ex-wife. Sturman had told his ex-wife that he intended to kill himself. He gave her a precise time: 8:14 p.m. The time has to do with a traumatic event Sturman himself lived through when he was a teen-ager: the suicide of his father.
The deputy called command. “What we knew at that point is that he was suicidal. We didn’t know about a weapon, we didn’t know about his whereabouts,” Troiano said. His ex-wife informed deputies that he was at Heroes Park. As deputies were setting up, Sturman fired one shot. It’s not at all clear whether he fired at the deputies or whether he fired randomly into the woods. He was not always within the sight of deputies.
Air One, an emergency helicopter from Volusia County, flew in and helped locate Sturman. He was “heavily intoxicated, we saw him at one time with the shotgun to the chin, so we certainly knew that this was a desperate situation,” Troiano said. Sturman walked away at one point, and then re-engaged with deputies. He had been walking toward his car. Deputies persuaded him to turn back. He finally walked up to a group of deputy unarmed and surrendered without incident. Throughout, he’d been on the phone, likely with family, while he was speaking with deputies.
“This certainly could have ended with a much different result than it did,” Troiano said. “We were able to use every resource at our disposal, we were patient with him, we showed a lot of restraint, and we were able to end the situation peacefully. Our guys did a good job, I watched it first hand, they did an excellent job.”
When Sturman surrendered, he was immediately evaluated by paramedics, then held in a patrol car, in handcuffs. The weapon, a 12-gauge shotgun, was recovered. Its ownership is unclear for now. “Obviously he’s impaired, he’s under the influence of alcohol, he’s under a great deal of emotional distress now, and it’s time for the clinicians to step in and to help him and help his family,” Troiano said.
Sturman does not face criminal charges for anything he did tonight, Troiano said. “He discharged a firearm, he’s under the influence of alcohol,” Troiano said, but looking at “the totality of circumstances,” the sheriff’s office feels there was no criminal act, and the best solution to the problem was a Baker Act–the non-voluntary committal of an individual to a psychiatric unit.
During the standoff, the Palm Coast Fire Police had shut down Palm Coast Parkway west of Belle Terre Parkway. Air One flew overhead.
“We have a tense situation right now, an individual has a shotgun,” within the area of Heroes Park, Troiano had said during the standoff. Heroes Park is a short walk from the public library. He also described the situation as “very fluid.”
So it was for a while. As the evening wore on, the situation became at times less controlled: Sturman for a time was no longer necessarily in law enforcement’s sight, and several roads had been sealed off beyond Palm Coast Parkway. Some people who’d been shopping at Kohl’s were prevented from leaving the parking lot there, at least for a short time. Troiano confirmed reports of certain houses being evacuated.
The sheriff’s office SWAT team was deployed, with reports just after 9:45 p.m. that Sturman was in the woodline of the park, and was again in the line of sight of some deputies.
The standoff began around 8:30 p.m., with numerous rescue units standing by at nearby Corporate Plaza. A negotiator was at the scene. “We want this to resolve peacefully, we don’t want to see it end in a different way,” Troiano said, a matter of minutes before the situation was resolved as intended.
I hope everyone stays safe & they catch this guy.
Oh no! He is really a nice guy, and I am very sorry to hear this.
Thank you to everyone who helped this poor soul. I hope he is able to regain peace in his life.
Tim had to endure unimaginable trauma as a teenager when his father killed himself right in front of him. I hope Timmy gets all of the support he desperately needs.
he does not face criminal charges, he only discharged a firearm & was intoxicated?
i’m sorry but if any other citizen in PC was drunk & discharged a firearm, bringing cops to the scene & evacuating homes, they would have been arrested. FACT.
I feel bad for the guy and his family but …he should be charged with multiple charges.
PLease someone get him the help he needs.
Sherry E says
This is a perfect example for the need for much better mental health support and services in our state and our country. I hope that this fellow gets the help he needs, and very quickly.
Another example of the fine work done by our local law enforcement. They were able to save this man from himself and no one was injured. These public servants do not get near the credit or respect that they deserve.
MaideninFlagker. You have no clue what you are talking about. This person was suicidal. Any citizen that did what this person did would have been baker acted just as he was. They can submit charges but they would not arrest.
David B says
So glad he was a former cop, and not a current cop. I hope the dude gets some help.
discharged firearm, not sure if it was at deputies or into the woods??
but hey, he was a cop…so its ok
Respectfully, it is a mental health issue. If he had been charged, the charges would have eventually been dropped, hence, there were no charges made in this case. Had anyone been injured, threatened or in danger, or any property harmed, charges may have been more applicable, but, this is a mental health case more than a criminal case, and thankfully it was handled that way. YES, I agree, had he not been familiar to his captors, or been just some guy off the street, he would be charged, but I repeat, after an assessment by professionals, the charges would have been dropped.
PTSD and Depression take a terrible toll on everyone. I sincerely hope this gentleman gets the help that he needs…and that he is counseled that there IS hope for him, if he will accept the help.
ok he won’t get charged with a crime- what happens when he goes off the deep end again and decides to take a few people out with him? the man is clearly not stable. can we at least take away his gun(s)? or can we not do that either because he committed no crime?
And this “know better” law enforcement officer should pay all expenses for what he created! Is he going to do this again and again and put other officers and citizens in jeopardy?Threatening to be copy cat was his choice and those who consume alcohol should be responsible and be held accountable. This man’s actions caused alot of people to fear for their safety and caused others who needed law enforcement to wait for hours for an officer. This man’s right to carry or possession a gun should be revoked.
It doesn’t matter officer, ex officer, convicted felon ect… We as humans, need to care about our fellow people. It’s not about punishment, it is about helping/caring about a fellow human and having compassion. God loves all of us especially the broken. <3
Peace and hope to you, Mr Sturman. You are probably stronger than you know and many of the posts here demonstrate that perfect strangers care deeply about your future.
no charges some thing is wrong here he fired a gun while drunk in a public park.so no charges so he goes home then gets another gun then what.
scrub jay says
Desperate people do desperate things. Red flags were up, Once again. I pray for him and others as getting real help in these difficult times is rare, unless you have LOTS of money .. He needed a friend.
Sherry E says
Yes. . . most certainly. . . the gun should be removed from his possession. The insane thing is. . . it probably won’t/can’t be! Still hoping he gets all the help he needs to return to good mental health.
Florida Native says
With the Baker Act and this incident he will no longer have legal access to guns.
“With the Baker Act and this incident he will no longer have legal access to guns.”
After 72 hours – if he is released under his own recognizance – he may indeed
have his gun returned and can legally own other guns. If he is kept beyond 72
hours against his will or “adjudicated” as mentally ill by a shrink – then he loses
his guns for the time being, pending future hearings.
It’s hard to have your guns taken away in Florida.
one furious mom says
If he get the help he needs and become better with himself – his guns will not be an issue. The way I read this – IMO – he fired his gun as a cry for help. Thankfully. And now hopefully he can get the help he needs. Had he been there with a rope to hang himself would you all be banning ropes – take all of his shoe strings away? Let’s all remember a gun cannot fire itself, a spoon cannot load itself with food and dive into your mouth, a car cannot drive your drunk self around. These are all potentially dangerous things but it’s the person who is to blame. Get him the help he needs and his guns are not dangerous. And might I point out – you can obtain a gun ILLEGALLY- not everyone in possession of a firearm is in legal possession and you’re naive to think so. Legal gun owners are less the issue than criminal illegal firearms owners.
Samuel L. Bronkowitz says
This is yet another example why police officers should receive regular mental health screenings.
scrub jay says
True Mom, The drug lords and terrorists praying we pass new gun laws, and they can smuggle in even more of their trash. Get real, folks, gun control won’t work.
My spoon fills my mouth all the time!!!!! Are you insinuating that its my fault that I’m fat?