Sunday, September 23, 2018
Public safety

Police shoot and kill vet, 68, at Bay Pines VA Medical Center

Police shot and killed a man at Bay Pines VA Medical Center on Friday evening after he came into the facility, said he had a bomb and lunged at officers with a knife, federal officials said.

The man, who officials said was a 68-year-old veteran, came into a lobby about 5 p.m. and told someone he had a bomb, said FBI spokesman Dave Couvertier.

When officers with the Bay Pines VA Police Department arrived, the man brandished a knife and threatened the officers, Couvertier said. "He lunged and the officers took action," he said.

The man, whose name wasn't released Friday night, was treated in the emergency center but later died.

Officers noticed that the man had a backpack and when they looked inside, they saw a PVC pipe that looked like a bomb.

Bay Pines officials evacuated parts of the first floor of the center while bomb experts inspected the pipe. They determined it was a "hoax device," Couvertier said.

Law enforcement officers searched the facility for other devices but didn't find any. Investigators believe the incident is isolated but remained unsure of the man's motives late Friday. His next of kin had not yet been notified of his death.

Officials with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, St. Petersburg Police Department, the Tampa Bomb Squad and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were on scene Friday night. The investigation will be led by the FBI.

Evacuated patients were diverted to other local hospitals, said Bay Pines spokesman Jason Dangel. "I'm happy to say none of our patients or staff were injured," he said. Parts of the facility remained closed late Friday.

Just the day before, Rep. C.W. Bill Young was buried at the nearby Bay Pines National Cemetery.

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