A man who exchanged gunfire with a Clermont police officer died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to an autopsy.
"Cause of death: gunshot wound to the head. Manner of death: suicide," said Clermont Police Chief Charles Broadway during a news conference on Thursday.
The Lake County Medical Examiner's findings would appear to confirm that 21-year-old Joshua M. Waldron took his own life and was not killed by Officer James Rooney, as first reported by the police department.
Investigators are still trying to determine what led to the shooting, which happened earlier this week in McKinley Park near Clermont Elementary. Waldron was sitting on a bench, smoking, when he was approached by Officer Rooney. A spokesman with the Clermont Police Department said Waldron pulled out a gun and shot at the officer, who then returned fire.
Waldron ran from the scene but was found a few blocks way, on the ground, having been shot.
"There was recovered at the scene, a cigar blunt, with the contents gutted out, which is commonly used to smoke marijuana," said Chief Broadway. However, when pressed for details, Broadway said investigators are still trying to find out if Waldron was using drugs.
Waldron was flown to Orlando Regional Medical Center where he died the next day.
The victim's sisters, Erica O'Riley and Jody Waldron, are stunned after hearing how their brother died. "It's a shock, words can't explain the feelings we're having right now," said Jody. "He's been clean for two years, and he hasn't gotten in no trouble. Yes, he was on probation but he cleaned his life up and stopped doing the stuff that he did before. "
Police investigators released a report, stating that Waldron's girlfriend filed a domestic violence complaint against him last month.
"Mr. Waldron was harassing her with text messages and verbal threats, threatening to kill her, a child and kill himself," said Broadway.
Waldron's sister disagree. "He would never hurt that little boy, and as far as her (Waldron's girlfriend), nobody knows. That's her side of the story to tell. We can't speculate," said Erica.
They said their brother was in the park, waiting for his child to get out of daycare. They want this case closed soon, so they can get some closure. "No matter what any of us do or says, nothing that we do is going to bring him back," Erica said. "It is what it is."
Officer Rooney, a 12-year veteran of the force, was not injured in the shooting. He has been placed on paid administrative leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement continues to investigate the incident.