Body Camera Footage Released After Walton Co. Deputy was Cleared in Fatal Shooting


Body camera footage from a fatal shooting involving a Walton County Deputy is released.

“Put the knife down,” the Deputy warned.

On May 1st, a Walton County deputy was forced to pull the trigger when a suspect charged directly at him with a knife after being warned multiple times to put down the weapon.

One of the words Sheriff Michael Adkinson continued to use to describe the deputy’s actions was, restraint.

“The deputy used a tremendous amount of restraint. I think his training was evident and the fact that he did immediately shoot him,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson, Walton County Sheriff’s Office.

The incident started as a dispatch call of aggravated battery but, when deputies arrived, the scene quickly escalated.

In the video, Walton County Deputy, David Sanders goes into the home in Freeport. Cautiously entering, Deputy Sanders made contact with the suspect, Travis Leon Hayes.

Hayes grabs the knife. Deputy Sanders commands him to put it down.

“To be honest with you, he could have shot him standing in the kitchen and it would have been a totally justified shoot,” said Sheriff Adkinson. “He transitioned from a firearm to a taser and then back to the firearm. You know, that’s professionalism.”

A nonlethal was used first to try and apprehend the suspect but, it was not effective. While Hayes was being tased, he continued to charge at the deputy. That’s when shots were fired.

“He backed up about 60 plus feet down two darkens hallways. Backing up in a place that he has never been and is unfamiliar, while someone is coming at him with a knife. That’s really incredible,” explained Sheriff Adkinson.

The State Attorney’s Office described their view of the situation as a “justifiable use of deadly force.”

“The same deputies who had to pull that trigger then, perform life-saving efforts on him for the next five, six minutes, which is a long time to perform CPR and life-saving efforts on somebody you just had to shoot,” shared Sheriff Adkinson, Walton County Sheriff’s Office

Both Deputies are back and sheriff Adkinson says, they are doing fine.

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