Police, Deputies Shoot And Kill Teenager Carrying Replica of Assault Rifle At Apartment Complex Near Gainesville


Updated, March 21, 2016 at 3:08 p.m.: The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday afternoon that the gun Robert Dentmond appeared to be holding was “a realistic replica,” not an actual weapon as authorities originally alleged.

Here is the joint update from the sheriff’s office and the Gainesville Police Department:

As part of the investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident, the firearm Mr. Dentmond was holding at the time he was encountered by law enforcement officers was recovered. That weapon is now confirmed to be a realistic replica of a semi-automatic rifle. The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office also confirms that five (5) Deputies fired their weapons during the course of this incident. Three (3) of the Deputies on scene are Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) certified, having undergone 40-hours of training in identifying individuals suffering from mental illnesses, individuals in crisis, and de-escalation techniques. In addition, members of our Negotiations Response Team (NRT) had been contacted and were responding to the location to take over responsibility for communicating with Mr. Dentmond prior to his actions which forced Deputies and Officers on scene to employ a lethal response.

The Gainesville Police Department confirms that four (4) Officers fired their weapons during this incident. One (1) of those involved officers is Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) certified.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will continue to investigate the shooting.

Our original headline on this story has been changed to reflect this update.

The sheriff’s office also wrote Dentmond was intent on killing himself or forcing law enforcement to kill him, if necessary.

“Mr. Dentmond also communicated his intent to end his life via text messages prior to making the phone call to ACSO,” Lt. Brandon Kutner and GPD officer Ben Tobias wrote. “These text messages were not available to ACSO or GPD personnel prior to their response to the Majestic Oaks Apartment Complex and were discovered through the course of the subsequent investigation.”

Original story, Monday March 21, 2016 at 5:08 a.m.:

"This is a picture of the weapon that the suspect was carrying when confronted by ASO Deputies and GPD Officers," the sheriff's office announced on Facebook. (Courtesy of Alachua County Sheriff's Office)
“This is a picture of the weapon that the suspect was carrying when confronted by ASO Deputies and GPD Officers,” the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook. (Courtesy of Alachua County Sheriff’s Office)

A teenager was shot dead Sunday night, law enforcement announced Monday morning, after refusing to comply with deputies and officers from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office and the Gainesville Police Department.

Robert Dentmond called 911 at 10:07 p.m. and told operators he was walking around with an M16 rifle at Majestic Oaks Apartment Complex in Alachua County, just north of SW 20th Avenue and west of I-75. Dentmond told the 911 operator he wanted to shoot himself. He then hung up the phone.

Patrol units arrived on the scene and saw Dentmond with an AR-15 assault rifle, according to a sheriff’s office press release.

Sheriff’s office deputies and Gainesville police officers began “a dialogue” with the 16-year-old Dentmond, who dropped the rifle to the ground. He picked the gun up again, after speaking with officers and deputies, and began to walk toward one of the apartment buildings.

According to the press release, deputies and officers made verbal commands for Dentmond to drop his weapon, which he continued to ignore.

Dentmond was warned if he continued walking toward the apartment complex, the deputies and officers present would be forced to fire their weapons at him. Dentmond continued to ignore the statements given; the deputies and officers opened fire.

Dentmond was taken to UF Health at Shands Hospital by Alachua County Fire Rescue, where he was later pronounced dead.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting. The sheriff’s office and police department are also conducting administrative investigations into the incident.

Read also: Teen Fatally Shot By Police Has Been Identified

The full press release is below.

Media Advisory: Officer Involved Shooting

At approximately 10:07 PM last evening, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Combined Communications Center (CCC) received a 9-1-1 call from Robert Dentmond who stated to call takers that he was walking around the Majestic Oaks Apartment Complex with an “M-16” rifle. Mr. Dentmond also advised CCC personnel that he wanted to shoot himself then disconnected the line.

Several ACSO patrol units were dispatched to the scene. Shortly after arrival, an ACSO patrol supervisor encountered Mr. Dentmond who was armed with what appeared to be an AR-15 style assault rifle. Several additional patrol units from both the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office and the Gainesville Police Department responded as backup. Deputies and Officers began a dialogue with Mr. Dentmond who initially dropped his weapon after verbal commands were issued. Responding units attempted to establish a rapport with Mr. Dentmond to get him to step away from the weapon. After several minutes of dialogue, Mr. Dentmond picked up the weapon, arming himself, and began to walk toward one of the occupied apartment buildings inside the complex. Deputies and Officers with both agencies proceeded to again give a series of loud verbal commands directing Mr. Dentmond to drop the weapon. Mr. Dentmond did not respond to the directions he was given and began to, again, walk toward an occupied apartment building within the complex.

Mr. Dentmond was given several warnings by Deputies and Officers that they were not going to let him approach an occupied apartment complex while armed. Mr. Dentmond was given multiple opportunities to stop, accompanied by several warnings that Deputies and Officers would be forced to fire if he continued towards the occupied building while armed. Deputies and Officers made it extremely clear to Mr. Dentmond that if he continued to walk towards the occupied apartment building carrying the rifle, they would have no other option but to utilize deadly force. As a result of Mr. Dentmond’s refusal to comply with the directions of Deputies and Officers, lethal force was utilized to stop the threat Mr. Dentmond posed to residents of the complex. Deputies and Officers immediately rendered medical aid to Mr. Dentmond who was treated and transported by Alachua County Fire Rescue to UF Health at Shands Hospital where he was later pronounced deceased.

The investigation into the officer involved shooting has been turned over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The ACSO Office of Professional Standards and GPD’s Internal Affairs will also conduct an administrative investigation into the incident pending the conclusion of FDLE’s investigation. As a matter of routine procedure, ACSO Deputies and GPD Officers involved in the lethal use of force will be placed on temporary administrative duties within their respective departments until such time as the investigations are concluded.

About Alexia Fernandez

Alexia is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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