Florida Sheriff’s deputy killed during standoff

Published 10:07 pm Tuesday, July 22, 2008

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. – A man who fatally shot a sheriff’s deputy Tuesday had been ordered by a court to undergo a mental evaluation and had twice left a hospital before barricading himself in a home and triggering a shootout with police, authorities said.

Deputies later shot and killed the man, police said.

Okaloosa County Deputy Anthony Forgione, 33, from Niceville, was the second Florida officer in less than a week to be killed in the line of duty. Authorities identified his shooter as 46-year-old Mark Reed Rohlman.

Deputies served the order to Rohlman Monday afternoon and took him to Bridgeway Center Inc., a behavior health center for evaluation.

Rohlman left the hospital and was picked up again by police. Authorities said he kicked out the window of a police cruiser, injuring himself, and was returned to the hospital.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Assistant Special Agent Steven Desposito said Rohlman again walked away from the hospital. Later, Rohlman had obtained a shotgun and barricaded himself inside a home in Fort Walton Beach, a community in Florida’s Panhandle. It was not immediately clear if it was Rohlman’s home.

Sheriff’s deputies, including a special response team, went to the home. Members of a crisis negotiation unit attempted to talk Rohlman into coming out, but received no response. Officers entered the home and Rohlman fired the gun, killing Forgione, authorities said.

“They did their job this morning. They did it well. Unfortunately, we lost a deputy,” Okaloosa County Sheriff Charlie Morris said.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Michele Nicholson said Forgione was married and had two young children. He was the department’s first officer to be killed while on duty. He was a former Fort Walton Beach police officer who was hired by the sheriff’s department in 2005.

Desposito said Rohlman’s autopsy was planned later Tuesday and could not comment on whether he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Morris said a trust fund was set up for Forgione, whose funeral was scheduled for Saturday at the Niceville Assembly of God Church.

Last Friday, Fort Myers police officer Andrew Widman was fatally shot outside a nightclub. The suspect ran from the scene while firing at other officers and was shot and killed by police.