Sheriff's office releases additional information after Immokalee man shot and killed by deputy

Jake Allen Naples Daily NewsPublished 4:16 PM EDT Sep 22, 2020The encounter that ended with an Immok

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The encounter that ended with an Immokalee man shot and killed by a Collier County Sheriff’s Office deputy lasted 13 seconds, according to the sheriff's office.  

During the last few seconds of the encounter, the man was running toward deputies with a raised weapon, according to information released by the sheriff’s office on Tuesday.  

Nicholas Morales-Bessannia, 37, was shot by a deputy around 1:15 a.m.  Sept. 17 outside a home in the Farm Workers Village neighborhood in Immokalee.  

Three Collier deputies arrived after a woman called 911 because a man was outside her home on Edenfield Way with a shovel trying to get inside, according to audio of a 911 call released by the sheriff’s office.   

Cpl. Pierre Richard Jean, K9 Cpl. Nathan Kirk and Deputy Brian Tarazona responded, according to the sheriff’s office.  

Previous coverage: Immokalee man shot and killed by Collier deputy was single father, longtime farm worker

The deputies saw Morales-Bessannia near the front door of the residence with a shovel in his left hand, then he started walking down the driveway toward deputies, according to the sheriff’s office.  

Morales-Bessannia ignored “repeated” commands from deputies in English and Spanish to get on the ground, according to the sheriff’s office.   

When Morales-Bessannia was getting close to the deputies, he released the shovel from his left hand and produced a shiny, sharp object in his right hand that deputies believed to be a deadly weapon, according to the sheriff’s office.  

Morales-Bessannia ran toward the deputies and continued to ignore commands to get on the ground, according to the sheriff’s office.  

Morales-Bessannia got closer to the deputies and was “charging toward them” with the weapon in his right hand raised, according to the sheriff’s office.  

Jean was in fear for his life and the lives of the other deputies, so he fired four gunshots and Kirk released K9 Gomez, according to the sheriff’s office.  

The dog bit Morales-Bessannia in the right shoulder, according to the sheriff’s office.  

More: 911 call audio: Woman says man killed by Collier deputy tried to enter her Immokalee home

Deputies rendered first aid until EMS arrived on scene. The shiny object was later determined to be a pair of sharp landscaping shears, according to the sheriff’s office.  

The deputy who shot Morales-Bessannia has been placed on paid administrative leave while investigators conduct criminal and administrative probes, according to the sheriff’s office.   

The entire criminal investigative file will be forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office for independent review, according to the sheriff’s office. They did not say how long they anticipate the investigation will last.

Community members in Immokalee gathered Friday evening for a vigil near where Morales-Bessannia was shot. 

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers released a statement after the vigil questioning why Morales-Bessannia was shot.   

“We, the Immokalee community, must know exactly what the deputies said, and what they did,” the coalition’s statement reads. “We call on the sheriff’s office to release any video footage or audio recordings of the event immediately, and to reveal the identity of the officers involved without further delay.” 

More: Collier County Sheriff's Office: Deputy shoots, kills Immokalee man who was holding a shovel

Sheriff’s office deputies do not wear body cameras as the department is in the process of evaluating body camera options, said sheriff’s office spokesperson Karie Partington.  

A request for any dash camera footage of the shooting was denied Tuesday because it is part of an active investigation, Partington said.
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