Putnam County

67-year-old Interlachen woman shoots and kills armed intruder

INTERLACHEN, Fla. — Putnam County Sheriff’s Office said a 67-year-old woman shot and killed a man they said forced his way into her home with a gun.

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The man was identified as 64-year-old Reginald Best.

According to the police report, the 67-year-old said she heard the door handle shaking around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning and grabbed a gun to see what was going on. She told deputies she thought it could have been her husband because he works late, odd hours.

The report says she opened the door, and Best forced his way in with a gun. She told him to leave several times, but he wouldn’t and kept saying, “They’re after me.”

She told deputies he raised his arms with the revolver in his hands and believed the hammer was cocked. In fear for her life, she shot him.

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The woman then called 911, and he was taken to the hospital where he pronounced dead.

“You absolutely have the right to defend yourself in that particular scenario,” Putnam County Sheriff Gator DeLoach told Action News Jax.

The sheriff said that the woman was also at home with her 90-year-old mother with Alzheimer’s.

“Had she not had the firearm, we might be investigating a double homicide,” he said.

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Prior to the shooting, the sheriff’s office said they took several “erratic” 911 calls from Best and another woman at his home on Silver Lake Drive, roughly half a mile from where the shooting happened. In these calls, Best said he was hiding from people outside his house and that there were people in orange standing outside it.

The incident report said he had heard and/or seen unknown people in the woods or in his vehicle near his residence. The third call was the woman who said Best jumped out of the window with a gun and ran down the street.

DeLoach said deputies responded each time within minutes of the calls, secured the scene and didn’t find anything out of the ordinary, but they also couldn’t find Best after searching the area.

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The report also said the woman with Best told deputies he may have “been on something” because she didn’t see or hear anybody.

Neighbors, who had known Best for years, said he was a great person. The entire neighborhood is shocked, and they said this was out of character.

“We all loved him. It’s going to be a sad place around here,” neighbor Robin Deem said.

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Best lived at the home for nearly a decade, according to a neighbor, who said he would help everybody out.

“He’s the sweetest guy. He would give you the shirt off of his back,” Deem said.

DeLoach said the woman will not face any charges. He also said deputies won’t know if Best was under the influence until the autopsy and toxicology reports come back.