One dead in officer-involved shooting, Okaloosa authorities confirm

SHALIMAR, FL (WKRG/CW55) — Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference at 2 p.m. on Nov. 18 to discuss an officer-related shooting death that took place earlier in the day.

Okaloosa authorities responded to a call around 10:15 a.m. that witnesses had located Joseph Leland Fletcher, 35, at his home in Fort Walton Beach.

Authorities wanted Fletcher for recent felony charges that included fleeing and looting, grand theft auto and possession of a controlled substance.

Upon reaching the home, a woman believed to be Fletcher’s girlfriend answered and directed officers to a closet where Fletcher was hiding. Officers prompted Fletcher to exit the closet. Upon exiting the closet, Fletcher attacked officers, seeming unfazed by one officer’s attempts to tase him. Fletcher gained control of another officer’s gun. Another officer standing by fired one fatal shot to Fletcher’s chest.

Attempts to revive Fletcher proved ineffective, and EMS confirmed him dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported.

According to Sheriff Larry Ashley, Fletcher had been accused and convicted of multiple crimes in the past.

“This was a man who was no stranger to the criminal justice system,” Ashley said in the press conference.

The officers are on paid administrative leave, as protocol, until a full investigation is completed.

The last time an Okaloosa officer was involved in a shooting was September 2015, when 64-year-old Deputy Bill Myers was killed by being shot multiple times from behind by 33-year-old Joel Smith outside an attorney’s office in Shalimar.

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