WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- Authorities continue to investigate a police-involved shooting in Winter Haven on Wednesday morning.

  • Suicidal man shot by officers, authorities say
  • Man called 911 threatening to kill himself
  • Victim identified as Roderick Helmick, 46
  • Neighbor said Helmick's wife killed in April crash

Winter Haven Police Chief Charlie Bird said the incident started when Roderick Helmick called 911. 

"He told the dispatcher he had a loaded gun in his pocket and he was definitely going to commit suicide," Bird said.

A few minutes later, when officers arrived at the Royal Inn Motel just off Lake Alfred Road and Harborage Court where Helmick lived, Bird said Helmick pulled a gun from his pocket and aimed it at officers. 

Bird said all five officers then fired at Helmick, striking him multiple times. Officers rendered aid, and Helmick was taken to a hospital, where he was listed in critical but stable condition.

No officers were injured in the incident.

Grieving husband

A neighbor said Helmick, 46, was depressed about his wife, Robyn, being struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing Highway 17 in April. In a Facebook post Tuesday evening, Helmick wrote about depression, missing his wife and suicide.

"I know he was depressed," Myron Jackson said. "It was only yesterday that he made a statement that he misses her so much and that sometimes he think he may just end his life."

Bird said it appeared Helmick may have wanted officers to shoot him.  

"Our officers respond because they want to save someone's life. We don't want someone to commit suicide," he said. "The problem is, sometimes people utilize law enforcement to do that."

The five officers have been placed on leave, which is standard practice while the Polk County Sheriff's Office conducts an investigation into the shooting.