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Rodney Wayne Stevens shot in head by St. Johns County Sheriff's Office deputy

10:32 PM, Dec 11, 2013   |    comments
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UPDATE, 12/12/13: The cause of 64-year-old Rodney Wayne Stevens' death in the Wednesday officer-involved shooting has been determined by the District Medical Examiner to be a gunshot wound to the head.

According to a release from St. Johns County Sheriff's Office Cpl. Catherine Payne, the deputy who shot Stevens has been identified as 29-year-old Thomas C. Coward.

Coward, who has been with the Sheriff's Office since July 2004, has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Original story from 12/11/13:

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office is investigating an officer-involved shooting that left one man dead Wednesday afternoon in the 300 block of Katnack Road.

"This is what we would call a high risk call," said Commander Chuck Mulligan with the St. Johns County Sheriff's office.

Two deputies responded to the home around 12:30 p.m. after getting reports that one of the home's occupants was armed and threatening others in the home.

A daughter of 64-year-old Rodney Wayne Stevens, the man who was fatally shot, told First Coast News she called police because they were arguing.

"All I wanted him to do was leave - the house -  so we wouldn't argue any longer," she said.  "So I called the cops - the cops came - and i did tell the cops that he may have a weapon."

According to a release from SJSO Media Relations Officer Kevin Kelshaw, an individual threatened others in the home if police were called.

Other deputies in the area came to back up the two deputies who initially responded to the call. 

A man came out of the home and went back in when police arrived and then threatened to arm himself, Kelshaw said. 

Police went into a back bedroom in the residence after hearing a shot fired and found Stevens dead.

Deputies say Stevens had three warrants out for his arrest: felony battery, tampering with a witness and grand theft.
Neighbors told First Coast News they live in a normally quiet, close-knit part of St. Johns County. Earl Hydes has lived there all his life.

"Pretty decent neighborhood," he said. "Pretty quiet, you don't hear stuff out of it."

Investigators said they'll be at the scene for most of Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Wednesday evening, the St. John's County Sheriff's Office released the 911 calls from the deadly police-involved shooting.

The first of the 911 calls begin with a woman who said she is a daughter of 64-year-old Rodney Wayne Stevens.

Operator: "911, what's your emergency?

Woman: 'Uh, My dad has two warrants for his arrest. He is walking around here with a gun saying he is going to shoot one of us if we call the law on him. Someone needs to get here fast."

The woman said she was in a bedroom of the house with the door closed.

Woman: "The person that I live with says he has it in his hand and if he knows that I'm talking to you. He will bust this door down and probably shoot me."

In the tapes, the woman said Stevens had been drinking.

Further in the call, you hear a knock at the door.

You eventually hear the woman and man arguing in the call, while the operator tells the woman not to engage in the conversation. Further into the call, something changes.

Woman: "I actually don't know if he has a gun, to be honest with you. I don't know if he ever came and got it.

Operator: "Okay."

Woman: "He said he was."

Operator : "If you say he's armed, we're going to assume that he is."

In the call, the operator asks if weapons are in the room with her. The woman said wasn't certain, but she thinks two might possibly be. after that...contact is lost. the operator calls back and the woman says the man is now in the room.

Woman: 'No you're not. You're not getting near these guns. He's trying to get a gun. Sir, please, someone come. Please" She continues "Ow! No You're not! No you're not! No you're not! No, you're not!"

The last thing you hear the operator say is...

Operator: "Did he get a weapon? (beep) "Hello?" "Lost signal again."

First Coast News

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