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Criminal Justice

Man shot to death in courthouse standoff with law enforcement was armed with toy airsoft gun

Posted Mar 5, 2014 4:10 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A 51-year-old man shot to death after a three-hour standoff with law enforcement outside a Florida courthouse last week was armed with a $15.99 airsoft pistol that shoots plastic BB pellets, the Brevard County sheriff says.

Officers from his SWAT team and a Palm Bay negotiator who was at the Viera courthouse tried to talk with Robert Striffler and subdue him with a stun gun. But when those efforts failed and Striffler reportedly ran from the scene after being spotted with an apparent handgun, he was shot to death by deputies, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

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An airsoft gun and pellets. Image from Shutterstock.

"The deputies that responded Friday encountered a deadly threat and responded to that threat appropriately," said Sheriff Wayne Ivey at a Tuesday press conference.

Footage taken from media helicopters from above the courthouse grounds at the time of the standoff shows the suspect with the apparent handgun. But Ivey said it was a Crosman KWC Stinger P311, a 6 millimeter airsoft pistol, which, according to the manufacturer's website, looks like a historic military pistol, the newspaper reports.

Ivey said the airsoft weapon is supposed to have an orange plastic muzzle identifier, but it was not present at the time of the courthouse shooting.

The shooting incident remains under investigation by the sheriff's department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which is standard procedure in such situations.

According to information from authorities and court records, suspect Robert Striffler had previously made threats concerning the courthouse and had a lengthy arrest record, some incidents involving relatively minor claimed offenses. A friend, Dena McHale, told Bay News 9 that Striffler liked to talk and express his opinions.

Ivey said the sheriff's office was alerted by a relative of Striffler's that he was "coming to do harm" at the courthouse Friday morning.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: "Gunman slain after standoff outside Florida courthouse; sheriff says he made previous threats"

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