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NEW DETAILS: Madison County Deputies take suspect into custody following negotiation

The sheriff's office said the man is armed with a knife
Posted at 4:10 PM, Jul 01, 2024

UPDATE JULY 2, 2024:

The Madison County Sheriff's Office issued the following update on the situation:

Madison County Sheriff David Harper reports that on Monday the 1st day of July at 12:19 p.m., Deputies responded to the Deerwood Inn in reference to the suspect being asked to leave, adamantly refusing and trespassing. The suspect provided the name of Kristopher Kalvin, but deputies could not verify the name provided by the suspect. While attempting to positively identify the suspect, he fled on foot into a densely wooded area that led into a large swamp and eventually a lake. Deputies immediately engaged in a foot pursuit of the suspect until losing sight of the suspect. Deputies established a perimeter of the area where the suspect was last seen and requested canine assistance to track the suspect.

The Sheriff’s Office Drone unit, Canine Sgt. Eddie Brannon and officers from the Madison Correctional Institution K9 team arrived on the scene to assist in locating the suspect. Sgt. Brannon deployed K9 Riot to track the suspect as the drone unit began scanning the area to locate the suspect. K9 Riot tracked the suspect for approximately 200 yards into very thick vegetation until the track stopped at a large body of water.

Prior to deploying a second K9 team, perimeter deputies and the drone units advised that the suspect was seen in the wooded area between the large lake and Old St. Augustine Road running south and was currently entering the lake. The suspect was located in the lake, in a small clump of cypress trees with only his head out of the water. Deputies actively attempted to negotiate with the suspect to come out of the water, but the suspect was belligerent and refused their orders. The suspect repeatedly stated that he would shoot down the drone if it came any closer. There had not been a firearm observed, but the suspect was keeping his hands below the water line.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) arrived on the scene to assist with water assets as negotiations continued. The suspect revealed that he had a knife and made several gestures of holding it to his own throat while making threats of self-harm as well as harming deputies. FWC, accompanied by Sheriff’s Office deputies, deployed the airboat to the area of the suspect. While approaching the suspect, he became more agitated and uncooperative and made gestures with the knife. It was decided not to pressure the suspect and allow the proximity and presence to serve as containment of the suspect as negotiations continued. Due to inclement weather and lightning, the airboat was forced back to land until the storm passed.

After the storm passed, the airboat again approached the suspect as he began swimming into open water. As the boat approached, the suspect began diving under the water in an attempt to avoid a chemical agent that was being deployed. Deputies were able to grab the arms of the suspect, giving verbal commands to drop the knife in an attempt to gain control. The suspect refused to comply and physically resisted the deputies. The suspect was eventually pulled into the airboat as the struggle continued until wrist restraints were finally secured on him.

The suspect received a minor injury to his face and was transported to the Madison County Hospital for medical clearance. The suspect was medically cleared and transported to the Madison County Jail, where he was fingerprinted and identified as Kristopher K Gaither with no last known address.

Gaither is also a suspect in an assault case at the Deerwood Inn on the 30th day of June 2024 at 8:57 p.m. but left the scene prior to a deputy’s arrival and could not be located. Gaither was charged with Resisting an Officer. However, additional charges are pending.

Sheriff David Harper commends his deputies, officers of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, and the Madison Correctional Institution K9 team for their tremendous efforts in bringing this incident to a close. Sheriff Harper further elaborates that this is a perfect example of the relationships the Sheriff’s Office has developed with other agencies, community leaders, and citizens to combine resources and bring criminals to justice. “I personally thank each of my team, our partner agencies, their staff and the citizens cooperation with safely resolving this case”.


Kristopher K Gaither
No known address
1. Resist / Obstruct an Officer

UPDATE 5:30 P.M.

The Madison County Sheriff's Office said the suspect is in custody.


The Madison County Sheriff's Office said deputies are negotiating with a man in a pond who has a knife.

At 3:16 p.m., the sheriff's office posted the following to their Facebook Page:

"There is large law enforcement presence in the area of Old St Augustine Rd west of the Deerwood Inn. Earlier deputies responded to the Deerwood Inn campground in regard to a complaint of a white male threatening to harm other individuals. Upon arrival, deputies located the suspect and attempted to identify him. The suspect fled from deputies on foot into the woods and entered a large swamp pond and began to swim out to a cluster of cypress trees. The suspect is armed with a knife and is threatening self-harm. At this time deputies, with assistance from FWC and MCI, have the suspect contained in the pond and are actively attempting to negotiate his surrender. Updates will be provided as available."