ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Authorities with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are investigating after two deputies with the Orange County Sheriff's Office were involved in the shooting of a man accused of stalking an employee at an Orlando-area grocery store.
The incident happened around 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, behind a Walmart Neighborhood Market, located at 201 S Chickasaw Trail.
The suspect, identified as 51-year-old Abraham Canaan, entered the store and was brandishing a large "buck knife, about 9 inches long," which was visible to employees and patrons, according to a spokesman with the Sheriff's Office.
Capt. Angelo Nieves said Canaan had been stalking a female employee at the store. The first deputy arrived on scene and was met by an off-duty deputy who came to assist, according to Nieves.
"He [Canaan] was knocking over items inside the store, creating a disturbance," Capt. Nieves said during an afternoon news conference. "As soon as deputies arrived, they encountered him on the side of the building, armed."
The suspect fled the store and deputies followed.
"He [Canaan] was armed with a buck knife and did not obey orders from the deputies who responded to the scene. Two of our deputies constantly instructed the individual regarding the weapon. He did not obey orders and continued to flee to his vehicle parked in back of the store."
It was not immediately known which deputy fired the shot that struck the suspect, or if both deputies fired their weapons. Nieves said that remains under investigation by the Sheriff's Office and the FDLE.
Canaan managed to get into a vehicle and pulled onto Chickasaw Trail, where the two deputies were able to block him, Nieves said. The deputies got Canaan out of the car and he was treated on scene, before being taken to a hospital. Canaan underwent surgery for a non life-threatening gunshot wound to his torso, and he is now being monitored. Both deputies have been placed on administrative leave for one week.
"One of the deputies is a nine-year deputy with sector two of this area of responsibility. He's a 17-year law enforcement veteran," Nieves said. "The other deputy was off-duty who responded to assist. He was in his vehicle... he's a one-and-a-half-year deputy assigned to the Apopka area. As soon as he heard the call go out, he responded."
Nieves said, in addition to the knife, deputies discovered an ax inside Canaan's car.
"Mr. Canaan was a threat to the community. He was fleeing, he was armed, and he is currently under investigation regarding an injunction regarding two females in the area of his residence," Capt. Nieves explained. "So he's a threat not only to the individual at the Walmart that he was possibly stalking, but also to the people that were in the store buying and the customers as well."
Chickasaw Trail was shut down between Lake Underhill and State Road 408 while the shooting was being investigated.