Sheriff Chitwood helps apprehend armed, suicidal man who led police and deputies on low-speed chase in DeLand

Sheriff Mike Chitwood speaks with members of the public at the spot where a low-speed chase involving deputies, police and a wanted, suicidal man.

Sheriff Mike Chitwood speaks with members of the public at the spot where a low-speed chase involving deputies, police and a wanted, suicidal man.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA McLAUGHLIN

An armed and reportedly suicidal man with an active arrest warrant was taken into custody safely Thursday evening after spending hours fleeing from and negotiating with law-enforcement officers including Sheriff Mike Chitwood, according to Volusia County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Andrew Gant.

The sheriff himself reportedly eventually grabbed the man’s hand before he could stab himself with a box cutter.

The incident began just before 6 p.m. Thursday, Gant said, when the Sheriff's Office received a call about wanted 29-year-old Julius McLauchlin, who was said to be in his truck at an address on May Street in DeLand.

DeLand police and sheriff’s deputies tried to locate the vehicle, which ultimately fled from responding units and continued at low speed throughout DeLand, disregarding several traffic signals and stop signs.

Several units and the Sheriff’s Office helicopter, Air One, were involved in the response to the incident.

Gant said deputies hit the pickup's tires with spike strips, but McLauchlin kept going.

Sheriff Chitwood, who was in the DeLand area at the time after leaving the Volusia County Fair, was contacted by McLauchlin’s mother while the call was in progress. The sheriff was able to establish phone contact with Julius McLauchlin, who eventually agreed to stop.

“It was discovered McLauchlin was armed with a box cutter and had inflicted severe lacerations to both of his wrists,” said Gant. “Even after he stopped the truck, he held the knife to his throat and refused to come away from the vehicle.”

The interior of his truck was left covered in blood as a result.

After about two hours of negotiations, McLauchlin started to exit the vehicle but still had the knife. According to Gant, he made an attempt to stab himself again when Chitwood grabbed his hand to take away the box cutter. McLauchlin pulled away, and deputies moved in to remove him from the truck, deploying two Tasers in the process of gaining control of him, Gant said.

After a brief struggle, McLauchlin was taken into custody before he caused further harm to himself, according to Gant.

He was treated for his injuries on scene and transported to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach for further treatment.

“Thanks to the dedication of all involved in this call, there was no loss of life, and no injuries to any law-enforcement officers, first responders or members of the public,” Gant said.

 

— Anthony DeFeo, anthony@beacononlinenews.com

 
 
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