KEY LARGO, Fla. (AP) — Deputies in the Florida Keys on Wednesday fatally shot a pilot who was deputized to carry guns on planes in what appears to be a “suicide by cop,” officials said.
Lane Morgan Caviness, 48, was killed at a Key Largo home following reports of an intoxicated, armed suicidal man, a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office news release said.
The sheriff’s office had initially identified Caviness as an “off-duty federal law enforcement officer.” The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, a state agency investigating the shooting, later clarified that Caviness was part of the Transportation Security Administration’s Federal Flight Deck Officer Program. The program allows armed pilots and flight crewmembers of passenger and cargo aircraft to defend against acts of criminal violence or air piracy.
Multiple deputies had responded and observed an armed man at the home, officials said. Deputies were able to reach Caviness by phone after he disappeared from view. He told deputies he was intoxicated and was prepared to confront law enforcement, officials said.
Caviness reappeared and pointed a gun at deputies, who responded by firing at him, officials said. Deputies began first-aid, but the man was pronounced dead.
In a news release, Sheriff Rick Ramsay said that “although this appears to be a suicide by cop situation,” state law enforcement officials will conduct an independent investigation of the shooting.
Officials did not immediately disclose who the pilot worked for.