May 19, 2013
Joshua Waldron of Clermont
Date of suicide: Dec. 11, 2012
Weapon: .22-caliber revolver
Joshua Waldron was sitting on a park bench in Clermont waiting to pick up his 3-year-old son from day care when a city police officer approached and asked him to stop smoking.
The officer, James Rooney, asked to search Waldron, and that led to a confrontation, gunfire and a foot chase. A short time later and three blocks away, Waldron shot himself in the head with a .22-caliber revolver, according to authorities.
He was a troubled young man. A month earlier, he had threatened to kill himself in front of his son, according to investigative records. The following day, he told his probation officer the threat was due to long-term depression.
Officer Rooney told investigators he fired at Waldron after the suspect hit him in the head with the gun, pointed the weapon at him and pulled the trigger. It did not fire.
Rooney also said Waldron fired at him several times, but firearms tests conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show that that was not the case, that the only bullet Waldron fired that day was the shot that killed him.
After he fled but before he shot himself, Waldron received a call from the mother of his son, according to FDLE paperwork. She told investigators that he said he'd pulled a weapon on an officer, and he did not want to go to jail.