Florida deputy kills woman who threatened him with shovel: sheriff

Police van.


A Florida deputy fatally shot a woman who threatened to attack him with a shovel, sheriff officials said.

Jessiram Hweih Rivera, 24, died Thursday afternoon at a hospital after being shot by Sgt. Sean Speakman near Redemption Baptist Church, where he located her following a report of a suspicious woman walking in and out of traffic, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

“She was in an obvious state of agitation and she was holding a shovel,” sheriff officials said in a statement to The Post.

As Speakman encountered Rivera in a private driveway nearby, she proceeded to “raise the shovel” and point it at the deputy when walking toward him. She then ignored several commands to drop it — prompting the deputy to fire four shots as he backed away, striking her, sheriff officials said.

Speakman started life-saving measures, including CPR, before Rivera was rushed to a hospital, where she later died.

Sgt. Sean Speakman fired four shots at Jessiram Hweih Rivera after she refused to put down the shovel she was threatening the officer with.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office

Rivera, of Winter Haven, had an extensive criminal history in Florida dating back to 2013, including felony convictions of battery on a law enforcement officer and possession of cocaine. She had been most recently charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Polk County last November, records show.

Speakman, who was hired by the department in 1998, is now on administrative leave with pay per agency policy as an investigation into the deputy-involved shooting proceeds, sheriff officials said.

Polk County Sherif's Office
Polk County Sherif’s Office.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office


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