MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Broward Sheriff's Office has identified the man they say lunged at a deputy with a knife Thursday night as 26-year-old Jeffrey Sacks.
Sacks died after sheriff Gregory Tony says a deputy was forced to fire in the parking lot of a North Lauderdale Ross store.
The deputy was responding to a 911 call from the Ross store where Sacks was waving a knife and cutting himself.
Sacks who had a tattoo of a money bag on his cheek was arrested five years ago for stealing a tip jar from an Oakland Park restaurant.
"I heard a pow, pow, and people screaming," said Shantel B., who was coming out of a different store when the commotion was unfolding.
"It was traumatic, I saw the blood," she says.
She watched as paramedics tried to revive Sacks.
According to Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony, the deputy attempted to de-escalate the situation by communicating to the suspect to put down the knife and attempting to back away from the suspect. However, he refused and instead ran toward the deputy.
"The deputy backed away as a tactical maneuver to try to deescalate," Sheriff Tony said.
He said the shots came as the deputy tried to defend himself.
"I can tell you that an individual armed with a knife we do not train individual deputies to respond with a lesser use of force. A taser is a lesser use of force. In that case, a knife is deadly force," Tony said.
A video taken by someone in the parking lot was turned over to investigators, the sheriff said.
"To a certain degree we were fortunate to have an individual who witnessed this and captured it on their phone and was able to cooperate and talk to our investigators so we have a chance to see this independently transpire and I think our deputy did an outstanding job trying to deescalate this," Tony said.
Sacks was taken to Broward Health Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
No other injuries were reported.
The circumstances surrounding the shooting remain under investigation.
As per BSO policy, the deputy will be placed on administrative assignment pending further investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Stuart Kaplan a former FBI agent and legal analyst says while you can't second guess the deputy's response. There may have been alternatives to bringing the incident to a different conclusion.
Sacks was cutting himself in the store and Kaplan says it was a cry for help.
"Did anybody summon a crisis intervention team," he asked.
"Police agencies are hiring psychiatrists, psychologists and other professionals and finding what they do is effective," he said.
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