BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County Sheriff's Office says that a man who was shot and killed by deputies last week was armed with a pellet gun resembling a semiautomatic weapon and left a note implying he wanted deputies to kill him.
When Master Deputy Michael Beckwith and Deputy Aaron Cochrane arrived at the scene of a fire at 6095 California St. on the morning of May 8, James Quenton Palmer pointed a pellet gun at them, the Sheriff's Office reported in a news release Friday. To the deputies, the gun looked like a Walther P99 semiautomatic handgun, according to the release.
The deputies shot Palmer, who later died at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Hudson. Authorities have not revealed how many times Palmer was shot.
A note detectives found implied that Palmer expected deputies to read it after they had shot him and that he hoped to use deputies to commit suicide, according to the release. The Sheriff's Office said it will release the entire note once the investigation of Palmer's death is finished.
Both deputies were placed on paid administrative leave but will return to work Monday.
Palmer had been living at the mobile home until landlord Anneliese Griffitts evicted him. Palmer said Griffitts allowed him to live at the house rent free in return for taking care of stray cats.
When he wouldn't leave, Griffitts turned to the court system, which ruled in her favor. A writ of possession was signed May 1 that ordered deputies to remove Palmer within 24 hours.
Just before 7 a.m. May 8, he called sheriff's dispatchers and told authorities he was "going to set the place on fire."
Contact Kathryn Varn at (352) 754-6114 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @kathrynvarn on Twitter.