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Florida Keys deputies shoot and kill off-duty federal air marshal they say pointed rifle at them

David Goodhue, Miami Herald on

Published in News & Features

MIAMI — Florida Keys deputies Wednesday morning shot and killed an off-duty federal law enforcement officer who they said pointed a semi-automatic rifle at them.

The deputies shot Lane Morgan Caviness, 48, at a house near mile marker 95 in Key Largo around 10:42 a.m. Eastern time. Monroe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Adam Linhardt said deputies were at the house after receiving reports of an armed, intoxicated, suicidal man.

Caviness was a commercial airline pilot who was also a sworn law enforcement officer with the Federal Flight Deck Officer program, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Air Marshal Service, Keys Sheriff Rick Ramsay confirmed.

Homeland Security officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Caviness’ death.

When deputies arrived at the house in the Key Largo Ocean Resort subdivision, they saw a man there and confirmed he was armed, Linhardt said. They reached him by phone after he moved away from view.

Linhardt said the man told deputies he was intoxicated and prepared to confront them.

He then appeared again, this time pointing the rifle at the deputies, Ramsay said. The deputies “responded by firing at him,” Linhardt said.


“Deputies began first-aid, but the man was pronounced dead,” he said.

“Although this appears to be a suicide by cop situation, as I always do in such cases, I have asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct an independent investigation into this matter,” Ramsay said in a statement.

Linhardt referred all questions about the shooting to FDLE.

An FDLE spokeswoman declined to respond to questions about how many deputies fired their weapons, their identities and if they’ve been placed on paid leave during the investigation.

“Our investigation is active,” said FDLE’s Gretl Plessinger.


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