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Officials: Deputy shoots, kills woman who threatened him with shovel

By WESH Staff

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    WAHNETA, Florida (WESH) — The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a deputy-involved shooting that occurred Thursday afternoon.

Deputies say they were called in response to reports of a “suspicious” woman who was walking into traffic on Rifle Range Road near Noles Lane in Wahneta.

When Sgt. Sean Speakman arrived, 24-year-old Jessiram Hweih Rivera appeared agitated and held a shovel, police say. As the sergeant spoke to Rivera on a private dirt driveway, she raised the shovel, pointed it toward Speakman and advanced on him, the report claims.

Police say the sergeant gave her verbal commands to stop and put the shovel down, but she did not comply. Speakman fired four shots that struck Rivera.

Speakman radioed the incident in and began taking life-saving measures until Polk County Fire Rescue arrived, according to deputies. She was declared dead at the hospital.

Authorities released a report, noting Rivera’s criminal history that they call extensive. The report lists two incidents of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Osceola County. In 2017, she was charged and convicted of battery on a law enforcement officer in Kissimmee.

Speakman will be on administrative leave with pay during the initial phase of the investigation.

Speakman was hired by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in 1998 for Information Technologies and became a deputy in 2005 before being promoted in 2018.

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