PANAMA CITY Fla April 24 2012 — A Panama City Police officer shot and killed a machete-wielding man during a confrontation Sunday morning, police said.
Officers were called to East Seventh Street near East Avenue around 10:45 a.m. Sunday because of a report that Clifton Delaine McKinney was standing in the street, holding the machete and screaming.
Two officers initially confronted McKinney and a third officer, a supervisor, arrived on scene a short time later, said Chief John Van Etten.
The officers asked the 40-year-old to put down the machete and surrender but he refused, neighbors said.
“For a minute we thought he was going to (give up) cause he turned around like he was going to walk off. Then he turned and charged them,” said Kathy Simmons, a neighbor who saw the incident. “They kept begging him, you know, ‘Put it down. Put it down. We don’t want to hurt you.’”
She added that McKinney was swinging the machete wildly throughout the time police were there.
Officers used a stun gun on McKinney several times after he charged at them, Van Etten said.
“The Tasers didn’t seem to have the effect they normally have,” Van Etten said.
One of the officers then shot McKinney after he charged. Van Etten declined to say how many times McKinney was stunned or shot during the incident. Officials also declined to release the names of the officers involved.
“They had no choice,” Simmons said of the officers. “They done everything they could to get him to stop.”
After McKinney was shot, officers performed CPR on him and an ambulance took him to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead, Van Etten said.
The officers have been placed on administrative leave, a standard procedure after an officer-involved shooting, officials said. Florida’s Department of Law Enforcement will be investigating the shooting, another standard procedure, Van Etten said.
Van Etten added that McKinney had several confrontations previously with local officers but declined to talk about the specifics of those incidents. According to the Bay County Clerk of Courts website, McKinney was arrested several times for resisting an officer without violence, twice for battery, once for domestic violence assault and once for felony domestic battery by strangulation.
Neighbor Jason Scott said McKinney often screamed at trees or animals but was rarely violent. Scott heard McKinney screaming Sunday morning and later he heard the shots but he did not see what happened, he said.
“He never messed with anybody,” Scott said. “He was in his own little world.”
But Simmons said that during a previous incident she saw McKinney strike an officer in the head with an object.
Scott, Simmons and other neighbors said McKinney was “taken away” by police several times over the last few years and that each time he would come back and seem better for a little while. The last time he was arrested was about two months ago when McKinney barricaded himself inside his East Seventh Street home, neighbors said.
Officers eventually talked him into surrendering.
“The guy needed help,” Scott said. “I believe today wouldn’t have ever happened if he had help.”
Simmons said she wished she had not seen Sunday’s incident.
“They usually can talk him down,” she said. “It seemed like he wanted it to happen.”