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Feb. 28, 2014 — Melbourne

Robert Charles Striffler, 51, drove to the Brevard County courthouse armed with a replica firearm and began a three-hour standoff with sheriff's deputies in the parking lot.

He ranted about the justice system and refused to put his gun down.

SWAT team members deployed two “less lethal” devices, according to a police report, but both failed and Stiffler tried to run. Then he pulled out his Airsoft gun and aimed at deputies, who opened fire. Read more

Striffler died at the scene.

Striffler’s sister called deputies 24 days before the shooting to warn them that he seemed mentally unstable. Deputies interviewed Stiffler at that time and issued an internal bulletin about him.

This was the 15th police shooting in Florida in 2014.

12 days earlier, one officer shot one person in Orlando .

Two days later, one officer shot one person in Fort Myers .

7 ways this case compares to others

  1. Deputy Vargas was involved in one other shooting from 2009 to 2014. Eighty-five officers were involved in more than one shooting during that time period.
  2. Striffler did not immediately comply with police instruction, a factor in nearly a quarter of shootings.
  3. A SWAT or tactical team was involved in the incident. Tactical teams are involved in 7 percent of police shootings.
  4. Striffler was armed with a bb/pellet gun. Only 36 other people were armed the same way.
  5. Striffler told someone that he wanted officers to kill him. That preceded 10 percent of police shootings.
  6. Striffler showed signs of mental instability. Almost a third of all shootings involved someone who appeared mentally unstable.
  7. Striffler pointed a weapon at officers. Twenty-eight percent of shootings involved people who police say pointed a weapon at them.

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