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March 10, 2012 — Orange Park

Deputy Christopher Ruby was returning to the Orange Park substation at the end of his shift around 6 a.m. He saw a woman, Joann Beardsley, standing in front of the substation.

Ruby got out of his car and approached Beardsley, 49. He said that she pulled a handgun out and walked toward him.

Ruby gave several orders to drop the weapon but she didn't, so fearing for his life, he shot several rounds at Beardsley, striking her six times in the legs and torso. Read more

She was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Beardsley had a black folding knife in her jeans pocket and a pack of cigarettes in her coat pocket. Police called it "suicide-by-cop." Beardsley had left some coded Facebook messages expressing she was depressed, and Ruby said she told him, "Thank you," as she was dying. But her son was perplexed.

"She was the sweetest, kindest lady," Jason Beardsley, 29, told the Florida Times-Union. "I can't picture her ever doing anything like this."

This was the 25th police shooting in Florida in 2012.

Two days earlier, two officers shot one person in Pompano Beach .

Five days later, two officers shot one person in Lakeland .

3 ways this case compares to others

  1. Beardsley was armed with a firearm. That’s true of almost half the people shot.
  2. Beardsley told someone that she wanted officers to kill her. That preceded 10 percent of police shootings.
  3. Beardsley showed signs of mental instability. Almost a third of all shootings involved someone who appeared mentally unstable.

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