West Melbourne Police Identifies Donald Whitmer of Palm Bay as Man Who Died in Physical Altercation With Officers
By Space Coast Daily // May 22, 2018
FDLE is conducting death investigation
ABOVE VIDEO: West Melbourne police officials have identified 45-year-old Donald Edward Whitmer Jr. of Palm Bay as the individual who died during Monday’s incident at the Publix supermarket located at 2261 West New Haven Avenue. (WFTV video)
BREVARD COUNTY • WEST MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – West Melbourne police officials have identified 45-year-old Donald Edward Whitmer Jr. of Palm Bay as the individual who died during Monday’s incident at the Publix supermarket located at 2261 West New Haven Avenue.
According to West Melbourne police officials, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is conducting a death investigation into the incident after Whitmer died during a “physical altercation” with West Melbourne police officers.
Officers responded to Publix at around 10:40 a.m. Monday after a person was acting “erratically,” according to police.
According to police, when officers arrived on scene and located Whitmer, police asked him to leave. Police say the man initially complied. However, management called the police shortly after for assistance again.
The West Melbourne Police Department released recordings of two telephone calls between 9-1-1 dispatchers and an employee at Publix who said Whitmer was “confused.”
When officers arrived a second time, police say the Whitmer was not cooperating with authorities and a physical altercation ensued. During the altercation, he became unresponsive, according to police. Officers immediately began administering CPR, until Brevard County Fire Rescue arrived and Whitmer was transported to a local hospital where he later died.
“The men and women of the West Melbourne Police Department would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Whitmer,” said West Melbourne Police Department Public Information Officer Capt. Richard Cordeau in a release. “We know this is a difficult time for them as they cope with his passing.”
“As this is an on-going investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, body camera footage is not being released at this time,” said Capt. Cordeau.
“An autopsy was completed on Mr. Whitmer this morning. Preliminary results revealed ‘no gross trauma’ to Mr. Whitmer’s neck. The final report is pending,” said Capt. Cordeau.
West Melbourne police identified the first officer involved in the incident as Jacob Mathis, who has been employed as a West Melbourne Police Officer since December 2016. Mathis does not have a disciplinary record and has been recognized in the form of unit citations. Officer Mathis remains on administrative leave as the investigation continues.
The second police officer involved was identified as Officer Kevin Krukoski, who has been employed as a West Melbourne Police Officer since July 2017. He does not have a disciplinary record and has received a letter of appreciation. Officer Krukoski remains on administrative leave as the investigation continues.
A man died after a confrontation with police at a #Melbourne #Publix! What police say escalated the situation on #WFTVat5. pic.twitter.com/aEIT5Oo2sY
— WFTV Eyewitness News (@WFTV) May 21, 2018
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ABOVE MAP: Police responded to Publix at 2261 West New Haven Ave on Monday morning at around 10:40 am after a person was acting “erratically,” according to police.
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