Collier County Sheriff’s deputy shoots, kills man armed with shovel

Published: September 17, 2020 10:24 AM EDT
Updated: September 17, 2020 6:57 PM EDT

Collier County Sheriff’s office is investigating a deputy-involved shooting that killed a man, who deputies say came at them with a shovel during early morning hours Thursday in Immokalee. It was also learned the suspect had a sharp-edged weapon as he charged toward deputies.

CCSO confirmed Nicholas Morales-Bessannia, 37, of Immokalee was shot by deputies during a response and died from his injuries.

Collier County deputies were called to the area of Edenfield Way at 1:12 a.m. in reference to a disturbance. The deputies who responded to the scene encountered a man, later named as Morales-Bessannia, armed with a shovel. He did not comply when ordered to the ground.

Details are still developing, but during the encounter, Morales-Bessannia advanced toward the deputies, one of whom says he felt in fear for his safety and the safety of those around him and shot at the man carrying the shovel.

Deputies administered first aid and Morales-Bessannia was transported to NCH Northeast, where he was pronounced dead.

Neighbors who heard the gunshots say the man didn’t live at the house where he was shot.

A group of relatives who live nearby say Morales-Bessannia had a 13-year-old son and would never hurt anyone.

Neighbors told us dozens of deputies responded near them. Some say the man killed by deputies tried to break into a home. Others say that’s not true.

“There was about 20 to 30 cops out here, and I was like, ‘Golly,’” neighbor Francisco Vasquez said.

Vasquez and other neighbors are still in shock after a man was shot and killed feet away from his home on Edenfield Way.

”I saw some lights outside my window, and it was an ambulance,” Vasquez said. “About fifteen seconds, boom. Then, I heard the gunshots, so I was like, ‘What the heck?’”

Of the neighbors we spoke with, none have surveillance cameras.

CCSO is conducting a criminal investigation into the shooting. In accordance with agency policy, an administrative investigation is also being conducted, and the deputy who fired the weapon has been placed on administrative leave.