A Florida fish and wildlife officer was justified in shooting a man on a Key West boat three times during a welfare check in October 2019, prosecutors said Monday.
In fact, the man who was shot is facing charges of assault on an officer after police said he dumped gasoline on himself and lit a cigarette lighter, saying he would “blow this whole place to hell,” with the officers on the boat, according to the incident report.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Capt. David Dipre, of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, during an interview with state investigators three days after the shooting.
“It was a shock to see [someone] pouring gasoline all over yourself and you’ve got a lighter and the flame is going,” Dipre said.
Dipre “acted reasonably and justifiably” when firing three rounds into Adam Bruce Bounds, 43, according to Monroe County State Attorney Dennis Ward’s office.
“The evidence, including video and audio from body-worn cameras, indicates that Mr. Bounds’ conduct posed an immediate threat to the life and safety of law enforcement officers who were present for a wellness check,” said Ward’s spokesman Larry Kahn in a two-paragraph statement.
The State Attorney’s Office began its review of the case March 12, the day it received a report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which investigates officer-involved shootings.
Bounds on Monday remained in the Lee County jail without bond on a Monroe County arrest warrant for aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and attempted arson.
The shooting happened during a welfare check by FWC and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies at about 12:19 p.m. Oct. 15, 2019.
Bounds had called the FWC’s Tallahassee office earlier that day, making suicidal threats after he had received a citation from the agency. He mentioned throwing himself in front of a bus, Dipre said.
“I’d rather die than go back to jail,” Bounds reportedly said during the call, according to FWC. “I want to go off myself.”
Seven officers went out to Bounds’ floating home in the Cow Key Channel, which separates Key West from Stock Island, according to a 45-page report by MCSO investigators.
Bounds didn’t pick up his cellphone but Rodriguez left a message asking him to respond, police said.
“We did not know whether Mr. Bounds was inside the cabin, or whether he was in distress and needed our assistance,” wrote Deputy Freddy Rodriguez in his statement.
Officers next boarded the makeshift houseboat and, still hearing no response from Bounds, decided to pry open the sliding glass door entrance.
Dipre first tried to pry open the door but couldn’t, the report states, so Deputy Tom Fricke took a turn and the door slid open.
That’s when the officers said they heard Bounds shout, “I’m going to blow us all up. You’re trespassing on my boat. I’m taking you all with me,” according to Rodriguez..
Dipre was standing in front of the sliding glass door with his Glock 9mm gun drawn and began to loudly instruct Bounds to “step back and drop the lighter,” the report states.
“Put it down,” Dipre said. “Don’t do it. Put it down. Don’t do it.”
Bounds replied that he was going to kill everyone, said FWC Officer John Hettel.
“After numerous loud verbal commands from Capt. Dipre, and no compliance from Mr. Bounds, Capt. Dipre felt that our lives were all in danger and fired three shots at Mr. Bounds,” Rodriguez said.
Dipre’s FWC-issued handgun when fully loaded holds 17 rounds including one in the chamber.
Officers said Bounds had his hands above his head when they entered the boat. He was holding a lit cigarette lighter while covered in gasoline, which they found spilling about the cabin, according to the report, and in his other hand a 6-gallon gas container.
“I only thought of one thing: The lighter has to go out,” Dipre told investigators later. “There was no time to run and grab the lighter out of his hand. So I drew my weapon and I shot three times.”
Dipre said Bounds was lying on the floor with his hands up in the air saying, “I give up.”
“Don’t move or I’ll shoot you again,” Dipre told him. “I was concerned he still had the lighter. I almost fell going into the door because there was so much gas on the floor.”
Dipre said he grabbed Bounds’ hands, rolled him over and handcuffed him.
Bounds was airlifted to a Miami hospital for treatment.
The gasoline fumes were so intense inside the boat that one investigator said they couldn’t spend more than five minutes inside at a time.
Police said Bounds was shot three times, including in the torso area and forearm, “literally blowing my guts out,” Bounds wrote on a GoFundMe page that asks for a total of $25,000 for a defense attorney.
As of Monday, no one had donated to the online fundraiser, which was first posted on June 12.
Bounds has said on Facebook he was being harassed by FWC.
Police described his floating home as two pontoons secured together.
One of the pontoons had two enclosed wooden structures on it that were attached together.
On one side of the boat, “4th Amendment” was written in large letters.