Aside from church-goers and dog-walkers, most Sunday mornings at Oak Street and Orange Avenue in downtown Arcadia are quiet.
But this Sunday was much different, as locals arrived for morning services to find a parking lot marked off with crime-scene tape due to a police-involved shooting.
Police reportedly shot a man wielding a knife in the parking lot that sits between the First Presbyterian Church and the Trinity United Methodist Church.
“I came in early and was here at my desk,” said Pastor Alan Adams of the First Presbyterian Church of Arcadia, one of two churches at the intersection of the shooting.
“I heard shouting and was going out to see what that was about and heard the shots. As soon as I heard the shots, I knelt down. A few seconds later, I opened the door and stepped outside.
“The man who was shot at was still standing. Everyone else around him were cops and he was still standing. One cop ran over and took him down to the ground and handcuffed him.”
Adams said this was between 8 and 8:30 a.m.
A 9:30 a.m. service at Trinity United Methodist Church went as planned, as did an 11 a.m. service at First Presbyterian Church. In order to calm and inform his congregation, First Presbyterian’s pastor opened his sermon somberly. “The world came into our parking lot today,” Adams told those in attendance.
And then he offered a prayer for everyone involved in the morning violence. The man, said by police to be in his mid-30s with a lengthy criminal history, threatened to harm himself, according to police answering a call at the church parking area in the report.
The man was told by responding officers several times to drop the knife, police said, but he then charged them and was shot.
Representatives of the Arcadia Police Department wouldn’t comment further, stating that it was still under investigation.
The man was flown by helicopter to Sarasota Memorial Hospital and is in stable condition, police said.
SMH officials, however, on Monday were not able to confirm whether the suspect was in the hospital.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the shooting.
The Arcadia officer involved in the shooting will be placed on administrative leave with pay pending a psychological evaluation, which is standard procedure, according to police.