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Gainesville police officers repeatedly shoot 22-year-old who family says was having a mental health crisis

(File photo/WUFT News)

A 22-year-old suffered multiple gunshot wounds after police say he lunged at them with hedge trimmers on Saturday at 6 p.m. He is in stable condition, police reported.

The incident occurred when Gainesville police responded to a call for an armed disturbance at 3400 NW 21st Pl. Upon arrival, they encounter Kyle Kinsman holding hedge trimmers. His mother, Liana Kinsman, said she informed responding officers her son was having a mental health crisis.

In a Saturday statement, police said the officers made several attempts to de-escalate, but Kinsman refused to comply with officers’ requests. According to police, Kinsman then lunged toward the officers, prompting an officer to discharge their service weapon multiple times.

Liana Kinsman said her son’s struggles with mental health have never been as severe as they were on Saturday. She said she wishes the Gainesville Police Department would improve how it interacts with mentally ill citizens.

Kyle Kinsman faces two charges of aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer. No police were injured during the incident. Kinsman has no previous criminal history.

The shooting is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

This incident marks the second time in recent weeks North Central Florida police have shot someone experiencing a mental health crisis. On May 19, the Ocala Police Department shot a mentally ill man who police say attacked officers with bear spray after fleeing The Vines Hospital, a mental health facility.

The Gainesville Police Department and Alachua County Sheriff’s Office have partnerships with Meridian Behavioral Healthcare to better respond to calls involving individuals with mental illness. Each department deploys co-responder teams that pair a uniformed police officer with a mental health specialist to handle calls together. By 2021, the operation had created 268 jail diversions “through direct community engagement” according to a press release.

Matthew is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.