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Sheriff: Woman wielding a shovel shot dead by Polk deputy

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Posted at 9:07 PM, Nov 11, 2021

POLK COUNTY, Fla- — A woman who attacked a Polk County deputy was shot dead Thursday, according to the sheriff.

The Polk County sheriff says the shooting happened Thursday afternoon at 3:45 p.m. in Wahneta, in unincorporated Polk County. The woman, identified as 24-year-old Jessiram Hweih Rivera, allegedly attacked a deputy with a shovel.

Deputies were called to the area regarding a suspicious woman who was walking in and out of moving traffic on Rifle Range Road near Noles Lane in Wahneta.

Sergeant Sean Speakman, 46, arrived to find Rivera south of Redemption Baptist Church on the west side of Rifle Range Road.

"She was in an obvious state of agitation and she was holding a shovel. As the Sergeant was speaking with the woman on a private dirt driveway, she raised the shovel, pointing it towards the Sergeant, and began advancing towards the Sergeant."-PCSO

According to the sheriff, the Sergeant asked her to stop and put the shovel down multiple times and began backing away. The Sergeant fired four times hitting the woman.

Rivera was transported to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Deputies say she had an extensive criminal history, including violent felonies and a previous battery on a law enforcement officer.

The sheriff's office says Sergeant Sean Speakman, 46, was hired by the PCSO in 1998 and began working in Information Technologies. He entered the training academy and became a deputy Sheriff in 2005. He was promoted to Sergeant in 2018. He is a patrol sergeant working in the NE District.

"Standard protocol for all deputy-involved shootings includes four independent investigations: the PCSO Homicide Unit is conducting a death investigation, PCSO Administrative Investigations is conducting an administrative inquiry, the State Attorney's Office responded to the scene and will conduct a separate investigation, and the 10th District Medical Examiner's Office will conduct an investigation to determine the cause and manner of death."

Per agency protocol, the deputy involved will be placed on administrative leave with pay during the initial phase of the investigation.