Officer cleared in deadly North Port shooting

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SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. - Investigators say a North Port Police officer was justified in fatally shooting a man in a parked car off Toledo Blade Boulevard last month.

On October 22nd, Officer Aaron Nick observed a suspicious vehicle on Toledo Blade Boulevard just north of Interstate 75 around 10:49 p.m. According to Sarasota County Sheriff's investigators, the driver, later identified as James Duttman of Pembroke Pines, opened the van door and brandished a gun.  Despite numerous commands by Officer Nick to put the weapon down, Duttman does not drop the weapon and appears to switch the firearm to his other hand. 

That's when the officer discharged his firearm two times in self-defense.

In his summary, Chief Assistant State Attorney Craig Schaeffer notes that Officer Nick’s sworn version of events is corroborated by the video and audio recording of the incident. It also cites “credible evidence” from recent Pembroke Pines Police Department reports that indicate Duttman’s intention may have been “suicide by cop.”

The State Attorney’s Office concludes that it was reasonable for Officer Nick to believe he was in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury at the hands of an armed Mr. Duttman, and therefore the shooting was the result of justifiable use of deadly force.