Florida Man Stories – July 9

July 9 – Armed With a Butter Knife and COVID-19 Symptoms, Florida Man Threatened to Kill His Mother

A 46-year-old Florida man from DeLand was arrested by deputies from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office after he threatened to take his mother’s life with a butter knife and the then-novel coronavirus. According to a news report published by WSVN, the main Fox affiliate in the Sunshine State, Brent Smith had COVID-19 symptoms when he got into an argument with his elderly mother at her house in Volusia County, and he started pushing her around before grabbing a butter knife from the kitchen.

Smith’s mother called 911 to report the situation. Two deputies were dispatched; they found a combative suspect who acted restless and irate, and they had to physically restrain him. The dispatcher who took the emergency call heard Smith snatching his mother’s smartphone, and the deputies found it in his possession. Smith let the deputies know that he was not going to make things easy for them; he continued making threats while talking about experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, and then he coughed vigorously in the direction of the officers.

While in the back of the patrol car, Smith continued coughing and spitting at the deputies; he told them that he hoped they would get infected with COVID-19, and he also made more specific threats that resulted in two counts of assault on law enforcement officers. Although Smith had symptoms, he had not been tested because testing sites in the Sunshine State were a mess at the time; the stations often ran out of kits and other supplies as many people were turned away. Smith was also charged with violating a probation order he was serving for assaulting his partner while she was pregnant.

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July 9 – Florida Man Adds Shark Bite to His List of Wildlife Encounters

From north to south, the Sunshine State straddles two major climate regions: Humid subtropical forests from the Panhandle south to Orlando, and a tropical savanna from Polk County down to the Keys. What this means for residents is a great diversity of wildlife species and a higher potential for dangerous bites. The “once bitten, twice shy” adage does not necessarily apply here, particularly for Justin Stuller, a 38-year-old Florida man who was bitten by an alligator and a black widow spider before a shark encounter that required more than a dozen stitches.

Stuller works at Estero River Outfitters in Lee County; he has enjoyed the pristine Florida outdoors since he was a child, which probably explains why he experienced three dangerous bites before his 40th birthday. In an interview with USA Today and the Fort Myers News-Press, Stuller explained that he never expected a shark bite when he traveled to the Florida Keys for a boating and fishing trip with the family. Stuller was diving in a reef when he spotted an injured fish near the swimming spot that his wife and children were enjoying.

Thinking that an injured fish could certainly attract a shark, Stuller grabbed it and placed it in a reef section away from his family. He couldn’t see that an eight-foot lemon shark followed him and went for the fish he was holding. The shark rolled Stuller and bit him twice below the knee. As soon as he surfaced, Stuller told everyone to jump back into the boat, and he was later taken to the Florida Keys Memorial Hospital for emergency treatment.

Although it is not unusual for a Florida man to sport a couple of wildlife bytes, a trifecta such as Stuller’s is rare; he is only missing a bite from a Florida panther and an invasive Everglades python for a full house.