Dillan Shane Ezell, 21, was shot and killed after allegedly carrying a pellet gun, thought to be a real pistol, into a Eustis AutoZone store in Florida on June 13, police told WFTV 9.
Ezell allegedly exited the store and made the Christian sign of the cross with a pellet gun in his hand before shots were fired, Eustis police spokesman Jim Franquiz said. Police said they shot Ezell after he didn’t obey their orders.
Here’s what you need to know about Ezell:
1. Ezell’s Family Claimed He Was Suicidal and Planned the Incident So He Would Be Shot & Killed
Ezell allegedly tried to commit suicide through “death by cop,” according to a suicide note his family found taped to a computer at his home a short distance from the crime scene, according to WFTV.
Jeff Ezell, the victim’s uncle, said the 21-year-old was carrying a BB gun but that it was not loaded, according to WFTV. Investigators said Thursday that Ezell was armed with a pellet gun and that Senior Officer Kenneth Toler was “struck by a fellow officer’s bullet that ricocheted off a concrete pylon.” It was initially reported that Ezell had shot Toler, but was later reported that a ricocheted bullet struck the officer.
Ezell also said the young man was suicidal for some time, according to police. “He needed help, and he just didn’t get a chance to get it and he does this,” he said, according to WFTV. “He was a good kid.”
Ezell had posted a picture on his Facebook to a suicide hotline in August, 2017, nearly 10 months before the alleged shooting took place at AutoZone.
2. Enzell Allegedly Made the Christian Sign of the Cross Before He Was Shot
Franquiz said that Ezell walked into the Eustis AutoZone with a “handgun” at about 2:45 p.m. According to the Daily Commercial, six employees fled through a side door and called police, and when Ezell emerged from the front door, officers were already surrounding the business.
Franquiz said that Ezell made the sign of the cross right before shots were fired. Ezell died while being taken to a hospital, according to investigators. It’s unknown how many times he was shot.
3. A 10-Year Veteran of the Eustis Police Department Was Shot in the Leg During the Incident
Toler, the 41-year-old officer involved in the incident, was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he was listed as stable and released shortly after. Authorities say that Toler was shot in the leg from a ricocheted bullet shot by another officer. Franquiz said Toler is a 10-year veteran of the Eustis Police Department.
“We’re praying for his speedy recovery,” Franquiz said, at the time of the incident.
4. Police Determined That Ezell’s Death Was an Isolated Incident with the Intention of Suicide
Police initially speculated that Ezell may have been attempting to rob the store where the incident took place, but weren’t positive what his intentions were at the time of the incident.
“We still don’t know if his intent was to rob the store or what his intentions were,” Franquiz said. They have since determined that it was an isolated incident with Ezell’s intention to commit suicide.
Ezell’s uncle confirms the claim, and says that he was suffering from severe depression and wanted to die.
“Ezell, who lived with his mother and grandmother, was unable to find a job and had been suffering from severe depression,” said Jeff Ezell, the man’s uncle, according to WFTV.
5. Ezell Enjoyed the Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and Video Games
Although Ezell’s facebook profile is private, a handful of posts that Ezell shared were public, showing Ezell’s interest in video games and Game of Thrones.
“Spoilers!” Ezell said after posting a recap of a season six episode of Game of Thrones.
He also posted numerous screenshots of the game Arma 3 on Steam, and stated that he “loved” an episode of the Walking Dead.
This is a developing story. Heavy will update as more information is released.