UPDATE: Officer Involved Shooting – Earl’s Hideaway Lounge
The Sebastian Police Department received a preliminary briefing from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement regarding the officer-involved shooting that occurred on October 9 at Earl’s Hideaway Lounge. The FDLE investigation is still in process and a complete report is pending. However, the briefing provided a comprehensive perspective of the events of that evening. It is expected that a final report will be provided in a couple of months. That report will be submitted to the State Attorney’s Office for review.
There is also an active criminal investigation as to Ward Kenyon’s actions on October 9thbeing conducted by the Sebastian Police Department’s Investigations Division. At least one of the handguns Ward Kenyon possessed that evening had been reported stolen during a recent burglary. The other handgun in his possession had the serial numbers ground off. These cases are active felony investigations being conducted by other agencies.
Based on the information available at this time, we are able to provide the following, in addition to or clarifying the prior press release:
Ward Kenyon was in Earl’s Hideaway Lounge prior to the officers’ arrival on October 9 about 10:30pm. He had displayed firearms to a person in the bar and made threatening comments. A member of Earl’s staff, who was familiar with Kenyon’s violent history and wanted persons status, caught the attention of Officer Singh who was patrolling in the area. Officer Singh was also aware that Ward Kenyon was wanted on an arrest warrant for violation of probation out of Indian River County. He was on a 36 month felony probation status which had been instituted in 2015 by the court based on a prior arrest for a violent encounter between Kenyon and another person at the No Name Bar in 2014. Ward Kenyon is classified as a convicted felon due to several prior convictions and a violent felony offender according to the Florida Department of Corrections.
From outside the bar, Ofc. Singh coordinated the arrival and approach of other officers to Earl’s while maintaining a visual on Kenyon to ensure the safety of the patrons. Once other officers were in position, Ofc. Singh, Ofc. Nevue and Cpl. Garrison, all in full police uniform, entered Earl’s and immediately made contact with Ward Kenyon. As they approached him, Kenyon moved toward patrons. The officers intercepted and surrounded Kenyon, isolating him from the patrons. They immediately attempted to frisk and handcuff him, but he resisted.
Kenyon immediately pulled away and drew a firearm from his waist.
Some of the patrons moved toward the officers to watch, while others moved away or stepped outside. Kenyon immediately pulled away and drew a firearm from his waist. He was ordered to stop resisting. Ofc. Singh instinctively reacted and grabbed the firearm to control it. Kenyon discharged the firearm, later determined to be stolen from a burglary in Brevard County. During the struggle, Kenyon pointed the firearm directly at Ofc. Singh. This was witnessed by the other officers. Ofc. Nevue reacted by drawing his firearm and shooting Kenyon, in the direction away from the bar crowd. Ofc. Nevue was shooting to stop Kenyon, believing Ofc. Singh was in danger of being killed. Ofc. Singh and Kenyon began to fall to the floor. This caused two boards (1/2 sheets of plywood) to drop down over Ofc. Singh and Kenyon.
Ofc. Singh jumped out from under the other side of the boards and moved away from the line of fire. Kenyon then crawled under the adjacent pool table, still holding the handgun. Ofc. Nevue, seeing that Kenyon was still holding the firearm, engaged Kenyon again. Kenyon then emerged from under the other side of the pool table with the firearm in hand, forcing Cpl. Garrison to shoot in an attempting to stop Kenyon’s threatening actions. Kenyon dropped the first firearm and left a second pistol on the floor, and finally surrendered. Ofc. Nevue and Ofc. Carroll, who arrived immediately thereafter, began to administer first aid on Ward Kenyon. Ofc. Singh was treated by K9 Ofc. Kyzer just outside a nearby door. Deputies from the Indian River Sheriff’s Office and a Fellsmere police officer arrived shortly thereafter and assisted with treating Kenyon and securing the scene.
Ofc. Singh was treated for several days at Holmes Regional Medical Center and released.
He is currently expected to return to duty in the next several months. Officer Nevue and Cpl. Garrison are on administrative leave with pay as is customary for officers directly involved in such events. Officers Kyzer and Carroll returned to work once it was determined they were not directly involved in the incident.
Ward Kenyon was also treated at Holmes for several days, during which he was detained by Brevard County Sheriff’s Office. He was released and held at the Brevard County Jail until his transfer to the Indian River County Jail, where he is being held on charges from this and other incidents. The Florida Department of Corrections will be adding an additional violation of probation stemming from the October 9th incident as well.
“Based on the information that I have at this time which makes the entire event very clear, I am extremely confident that the actions of the officers at Earl’s were legal and proper,” said Chief Michelle Morris. “I expect to return the officers involved to full duty in the next few days.”
“There is no excuse for a convicted felon on probation to be in a bar.”
“This incident is a result of the illegal, violent and criminal acts of Ward Kenyon, a person with a history of violent crimes. He is classified as a convicted felon and a violent felony offender who is prohibited from possessing firearms. He should have complied with the directions of the police,” stated Chief Morris. “There is no excuse for a convicted felon on probation to be in a bar, armed with handguns and resisting the police. He endangered the lives of citizens, the police and himself. These officers were concerned with the safety of the public and risked their own lives to keep the public from a threat. They placed themselves between the patrons and the suspect.”
Chief Morris added, “Those who felt the police should have waited would be the first to criticize us if he had injured or killed someone while we sat down the street waiting for him to leave. Also, the officers were attempting to immediately frisk and cuff Kenyon as soon as they made contact, but he didn’t comply. They not only dealt with the deadly force HE presented, but they also surrounded him to protect the patrons from danger. These officers did a heroic job.
Based on the evidence, Sebastian detectives are currently considering submitting the following criminal charges: Attempted Murder of the Police Officer, Felon In Possession of a Firearm (two counts), Aggravated Assault with a Firearm, Violation of Probation (several counts), Theft-Possession of a Stolen Firearm, Possession of a Firearm with Removed Serial Numbers, and other felonies. These will be reviewed by the State Attorney’s Office and submitted to a judge for additional arrest warrants. Ward Kenyon is currently in the Indian River County jail on the original Violation of Probation charge.
Chief Morris said, “I want to thank the Indian River and Brevard Sheriff’s Offices and the Fellsmere Police for their assistance that evening. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the public for the overwhelming support, particularly for Officer Preet Singh. We are grateful for the positive letters, card and expressions of support.”