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ARMED, SUICIDAL MAN TAKEN INTO CUSTODY SAFELY AFTER NEARLY 8-HOUR STANDOFF IN DELAND
An armed DeLand man who told Volusia County Sheriff’s Office telecommunicators and deputies that he planned to commit suicide or suicide by cop early this morning was taken into custody without injury after nearly 8 hours of patient work by responding units.
There were no injuries to 41-year-old Neil Ryan Kirkland (DOB 3/31/1978) or any deputies who responded to the standoff in a gas station parking lot at the intersection of International Speedway Boulevard and West Parkway.
Kirkland, who at one point fired a gunshot at the VCSO Air One helicopter overhead, is facing charges of aggravated assault on an emergency medical care provider, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, discharging a firearm in public and violation of probation.
The call began around 1:46 a.m. when Kirkland reported he planned on walking away from the 2800 block of Nectarine Road and shooting himself somewhere away from his family. A VCSO telecommunicator attempted to keep a dialogue open with him, calling him back after he disconnected the call and trying hard to convince him not to harm himself or anyone else. Kirkland indicated his mind was made up due to relationship issues with his fiancée, and his belief that he would lose his children.
The Air One crew, which was already overhead on a different call, observed Kirkland standing in the driveway, where he pointed a handgun at the helicopter and fired one shot in its direction. Air One backed off, and Kirkland got into a white Chevrolet pickup truck and drove away. Deputies on the ground successfully deployed stop sticks on his vehicle, which came to a stop in the gas station parking lot at 2496 E. International Speedway Boulevard.
Over the next several hours, telecommunicators and deputies worked to maintain a dialogue with Kirkland while establishing a perimeter and shutting down traffic in the area. He continually entered and exited his vehicle with a handgun pointed to his head, chin, or in his mouth.
He was taken into custody around 9:52 a.m. and later transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail, where he is held without bond.
In a media briefing near the scene after the call was resolved, Chief Deputy John Creamer credited the patient approach of all the sworn and civilian personnel involved in de-escalating the incident. “This is what we train to do – this is one of the tenets of Sheriff Chitwood’s administration: The sanctity of human life,” Chief Creamer said. “We’ll do whatever we can to keep somebody safe. We don’t want to go to a suicidal call and be the mechanism by which somebody dies. Although this person clearly indicated he wanted to die by suicide by cop, we worked through that. We have trained and trained and trained, and today we saw that training in action, and we resolved this the right way.”
Kirkland’s violation of probation charge stems from his 2001 conviction for attempted 1st degree murder.