69-year-old man shot by deputies dies

Brooksville, Florida -- Hernando Sheriff's deputies say 69-year-old James Quenton Palmer died from his injuries Thursday morning after being shot by Hernando County deputies.

The deputies were responding to his 911 call, claiming that he was setting his home on fire because he was being evicted.

"They got here, they were confronted by a male that was extremely aggressive, the situation escalated to a situation where they were forced to use deadly force," said Denise Moloney of the Hernando Sheriff's Office.

A neighbor, Sonia Pokorny, got a call from her son who was concerned about her well being.

"He thought our house was on fire I guess because of where the smoke is. He heard a few pops and the fire so you know pops could be something exploding," explained Pokorny.

Those pops were likely one or more Hernando deputies shooting Palmer.

Moloney said there are reasons that deputies felt they needed to shoot.

"We do have some updated information that there was a firearm located near the suspect and that firearm is being taken in as evidence, and it will be placed in with the rest of the evidence that was located on scene."

However, Moloney said she could not comment on whether or not Palmer used the firearm in an aggressive manner.

For now, the investigation has been turned over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to determine why Hernando deputies felt they needed to use deadly force against Palmer.

The two deputies involved in the shooting, Deputies Beckwith and Cochrane, have been placed on paid administrative leave.

Master Deputy Beckwith has been employed as a Hernando County deputy since 1990. He is 47 years old.

Deputy Cochrane has been employed as a Hernando County deputy since 2013. Prior to becoming a deputy, Cochrane was a Telecommunicator in the Emergency Communications Center.


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