Renter shot, killed by deputies said he had agreement to stay

By Ferdinand Zogbaum / Cait McVey, Team Coverage
Last Updated: Thursday, May 08, 2014, 8:50 PM EDT

A 69-year-old man has died after officials said he was shot by a deputy in Brooksville Thursday morning.

According to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, 69-year-old James Quenton Palmer called dispatchers and told them he was being evicted from a house on California Street and that he was setting the residence on fire.

Initial reports indicate that the first deputies to arrive at the scene were confronted by Palmer, who was extremely aggressive.

"[T]he situation escalated to the point deputies were forced to engage the suspect with deadly force," the sheriff's office said in a news release.

Palmer was taken to a trauma center with life-threatening injuries. Authorities said a firearm was found near Palmer at the scene.

"It's scary to know that just right down the road was a shooting with cops," said neighbor Danyell Moore. "Just because he was getting evicted? That's kind of crazy."

Court documents stated land owner Anneliese Griffitts filed a petition for ejection back in Febraury. But in a letter to the judge, Palmer wrote of a verbal agreement between the two stating the following:

"I would live there rent-free, including utilities, as long as I wanted to, in return for taking care of the cats."

Griffitts is listed as an Associate of Countless Cats Rescue out of Holiday and an acquaintance outside of her Trinity home said she bought the Hernando property as a place for rescue cats to stay.

Palmer went on in the letter to say he worked for Griffitts for free and "Anneliese and myself had a very friendly relationship."

Palmer told the judge he was a former marine and was too sick to live in his car, but in the end, the judge ordered him out of the house.

Fire crews also responded to the scene.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is now taking over the investigation and will review the use of deadly force.  The shooting is also under review by HCSO Internal Affairs.