State Attorney: Deputies Were Justified in Shooting Palm Harbor Man
By ANNE LINDBERG, TB Reporter
The man, who pointed a loaded and cocked crossbow at two Pinellas deputies, told deputies, “You’re going to have to shoot me. You’re going to have to kill me,” according to the state attorney.
PINELLAS COUNTY – The shooting death of a Palm Harbor man by two Pinellas sheriff’s deputies was justified because they fired to save the lives of two other deputies, Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe said.
McCabe released his findings to Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri on Friday (April 7) in a letter that detailed his findings from an investigation into the Dec. 22 shooting death of Palm Harbor resident Stanley D. Eversole, 55. Eversole was pronounced dead at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg where he was taken after the shooting. Deputies said they fired at him after he pointed a loaded, cocked crossbow at two other deputies.
“As a result of our investigation, I have determined that Deputies Casey Hunter and Brian Sudbrink were in the performance of their legal duties when Stanley Dale Eversole defied the commands of Deputies [James] Miller and [Robert] Cahoon and pointed his cocked and loaded crossbow at them. Eversole’s words and actions caused Deputy Hunter and Deputy Sudbrink to be in justifiable fear that Deputy Miller and Deputy Cahoon would suffer great bodily harm or death if they had not fired their weapons,” McCabe wrote.
“Therefore, it is the conclusion of the State Attorney’s Office that the death of Stanley Dale Eversole, was a justifiable homicide.”
Mr. Eversole, the state attorney said, had been drinking. The autopsy, McCabe said, showed he had a blood alcohol level of 0.165. He also had marijuana and anti-depressants in his system. McCabe noted that, earlier in the day, Mr. Eversole “had made two posts on Facebook which stated, ‘The day has come. God have mercy on us all’ and ‘When the day comes, the pain makes it not worth it to live. What would you do?'”
In addition, Mr. Eversole had previously been involuntarily hospitalized in Kentucky after a 2008 incident in which police had been called to deal with a suicidal person.
“Police confronted Eversole, who was brandishing a shotgun,” McCabe wrote of the Kentucky incident. “Eversole ignored verbal commands to drop the weapon and reentered his trailer. Later, Eversole exited the trailer holding a liquor bottle, requesting the police to take his life. Police deployed a taser that did not affeet Eversole, who went back in the trailer. Police were able to convince Eversole to peaceably surrender and he was involuntarily hospitalized. Police noted that Eversole was highly intoxicated. Eversole told the police that he had been drinking and taking pills for the last two days. Eversole made repeated references to ‘not wanting to go on’ and using the term ‘suicide by cop.'”
That 2008 Kentucky incident was similar to the Dec. 22 incident in Palm Harbor. Pinellas deputies were called to the Palm Harbor residence about 6:50 p.m. by a neighbor, Lisa Sampietro, who told them that Mr. Eversole and his girlfriend, Lora Richter, 53, had been arguing earlier in the week. During that argument, Mr.Eversole became upset and threatened Richter with a crossbow. Mr. Eversole warned Richter that if she called the police he was going to kill the cops that showed up. Richter never reported the incident to law enforcement.
On Dec. 22, Richter was texting a friend who became concerned for Richter’s safety and sent her daughter, Sampietro, over to Richter’s residence to check on her. Deputies said that, when Sampietro drove by Richter’s residence, she saw Mr. Eversole standing in the front yard holding what she believed was a rifle or shotgun. Sampietro called the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and told deputies that Eversole was upset and armed with a rifle or shotgun.
McCabe describes what happened:
“As Deputies Miller and Cahoon approached the northeast corner of 252 Whisper Lake Road, they observed Stanley Dale Eversole in the driveway holding a crossbow and drinking a bottle of beer from approximately 35 feet away. Cahoon and Miller repeatedly shouted for Eversole to ‘drop it, put it down.’ These commands were overheard by Richter, neighbors, and other deputies in the vicinity. Eversole replied, ‘You’re going to have to kill me. You’re going to have to shoot me.’ Miller stated, ‘Nobody wants to hurt you. Nobody wants to kill you. Put it down.’ Eversole ignored the commands and raised the crossbow and turned it in the direction of deputies Miller and Cahoon, who were able to observe that it was loaded with an arrow. This action caused Miller and Cahoon to be in fear for their safety. They did not have the opportunity to discharge their weapons.
“Deputies Casey Hunter and Brian Sudbrink observed and overheard the confrontation from their positions across the street. Eversole’s refusal to comply with multiple commands and his threatening statements and actions, gave Hunter and Sudbrink immediate and reasonable alarm for the lives of Deputies Miller and Cahoon. Based on this concern, at 7:12 p.m., each fired two rounds, striking Eversole, causing him to collapse in the driveway with the loaded and cocked crossbow. Eversole was taken to Bayfront Hospital by Bayflight helicopter where he was pronounced dead at 8:26 p.m.”
For information about the Pinellas Pasco state attorney, go to sao6.org.
Photo of crossbow courtesy of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
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