Armed robbery suspect severely injures Sarasota County Sheriff’s deputy’s hand before being shot by other deputies and dying at scene of Richardson Way incident

Homeowner tells 911 dispatcher he awoke to find man lying next to him on his bed that morning

Just before midafternoon on Aug. 18, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office announced that it was investigating an officer-involved shooting that occurred in a neighborhood off Fruitville Road.

One deputy suffered severe injuries to his hand after being struck by a machete, the agency reported. The suspect had advanced toward the officers as he wielded the machete, a news release said.

Two other deputies fired shots at the suspect, who died at the scene, the Sheriff’s Office added. Deputies and paramedics had rendered aid to the suspect, the release pointed out.

The injured deputy was awaiting surgery, the news release noted. “Thank you to community members who have offered their support and well wishes,” the release said.

Although no official report could be released while the investigation continued, Community Affairs Director Kaitlyn R. Perez did provide a number of other details about the incident, including the fact that the blade of the machete was 15 inches long.

Deputies were called to 310 Richardson Way in Sarasota at 9:29 a.m. on Aug. 18 in response to a report of an armed burglary, the release said.

The homeowner told officers that the suspect entered his efficiency apartment while he was sleeping, the release continued. “The homeowner reportedly awoke to find the suspect using a baseball bat to sharpen a large machete. The homeowner immediately dialed 911,” the release added.

When deputies arrived on the scene, the release continued, they located the suspect inside the efficiency apartment, with the machete.

As of early afternoon on Aug. 18, the release said, detectives still were working to confirm the suspect’s identity and to notify his next of kin.

“As is standard in officer-involved shootings, all responding deputies will be interviewed,” the release explained. The agency’s Officer-Involved Shooting Investigations Team will conduct the investigation, which will be reviewed by the State Attorney’s Office, the release pointed out.

During the 911 call, which Perez released later on Aug. 18, the victim — whose name was blanked out — told the dispatcher that he awoke to find a man lying next to him on the bed. “He’s a little whacked,” the homeowner said of the suspect, adding that the suspect told the homeowner, “I love you.”

The homeowner also explained that he keeps numerous knives in the house; the machete belonged to the homeowner.

Asked to describe the suspect, the homeowner reported that the man was white and appeared to be “35-ish.” In response to the dispatcher’s questions for more descriptive details, the homeowner reported that the suspect probably was about 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a medium build. The suspect was wearing a T-shirt, blue jeans and glasses, the homeowner added.

Answering further questions, the caller explained that he owns two homes; the suspect was in the apartment behind the primary house.

Then the homeowner told the dispatcher, “Somebody screamed,” before reporting that officers were on the scene. “Thank God they got here quick,” the homeowner added.

The total time of the call was 4 minutes and 41 seconds.

“Additional details will be released once they become available,” the Sheriff’s Office news release said.

One person who responded to the Sheriff’s Office Facebook post about the incident wrote that his mother lives close to the Richardson Way house. He added that “she told me that one of her neighbors was threatened by a guy with a bat yesterday. She called the cops.”

Richardson Way is north of Fruitville Road and west of Honore Avenue.

The Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s website says that the one-story house standing at 310 Richardson Way was constructed in 1960. The record lists a detached garage that was built in 2007, plus a swimming pool dating to 1981.

The living area of the house comprises 1,395, the Property Appraiser’s Office notes.

The home is not part of a subdivision, the Property Appraiser’s Office says. It is just north of the intersection of Richardson Way and Meldon Circle and south of the county’s Fruitville Park, which is located at 5151 Richardson Road. The house is surrounded by trees, an aerial map shows.