ST. CLOUD, Fla. - The St. Cloud Police Department says it received multiple 911 calls reporting an man running through the streets in the area of Lakeshore Boulevard and Georgia Avenue shortly before 1 p.m. Tuesday, acting erratically and covered in blood.
Around the same time, it was learned that a 9-year-old girl had been stabbed at a nearby residence.
According to a preliminary investigation, officers arrived and attempted to detain the man, later identified as a suspect in the girl's stabbing. A confrontation ensued which resulted in the suspect being shot, detectives said.
"Officers on the scene immediately began to providing life-saving measures and requested our EMS respond," said St. Cloud Police Chief Pete Gauntlett.
EMS arrived and attempted to save the suspect's life but he succumbed to injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Family members drove the child to a nearby hospital and then she was taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children where she remains in stable condition with multiple lacerations to upper her body and face.
The mother of the child, Veronica Snyder, said the wrong person was shot, telling FOX 35 News that the man who was killed is actually her brother and uncle to the child.
"We heard, 'the baby'” and my brother ran after him [the intruder]," she says. "My daughter's in the hospital and police are saying my brother did it. My brother was trying to help! He’s a hero!" she said.
Chief Gauntlett said claims that the wrong man was shot is "speculation" and under investigation.
"This is an active and ongoing investigation in conjunction with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and with the assistance of the Osceola County Sheriff's Office Crime Scene Unit," Chief Gauntlett explained.
Two officers have been placed on administrative leave. Neither was injured. Their names and the identity of the person who was shot were not immediately released.
"We have several crime scenes -- one is at the house, which is very violent and one is out on the roadway up the street, Gauntlett said. "It is our understanding that the suspect involved here was responsible for the assault and stabbing of this 9-year-old girl."
The St. Cloud Police Department will investigate the stabbing of the girl, "which is horrific and totally unacceptable in our society today," the police chief said, and the FDLE is investigating the use of force by officers.
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