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Fla. officer shoots man using barbecue fork as weapon

By Jerome Burdi
The Sun-Sentinel

LAKE WORTH, Fla. — A 15-year veteran of the Lake Worth Police Department shot at an armed man three times, striking him twice, shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday after police said he lunged at the officer.

Officer Eric Stull was called to a stabbing in the 200 block of South F Street and found a man covered in blood with a barbecue fork in his hand, police said. Stull ordered the suspect, Alfonzo Velasquez, 35, to drop the weapon but he refused, police said.

"Officer Stull, in fear for his life, fired three shots," police spokesman Sgt. Rick Ponce wrote in a news release.

Velasquez was hit once in the upper chest and once in the lower torso, Ponce said. He was rushed to Delray Medical Center along with the stabbing victim, his roommate, Juan Maldonado, 41. Both were in fair condition Wednesday evening, Ponce said. Alcohol fueled the violent argument between the two men, police said. It was the second police-involved shooting in the county in two days. On Monday, Boynton Beach police shot a man who they said pulled a gun on an officer after a carjacking and chase.

Stull, a former Marine who took part in the 1991 Gulf War, has no prior shooting incidents on his record, Ponce said. But Stull's personnel files were not immediately available.

Stull, a police SWAT team and color guard member, works night patrols but was formerly a detective in the department focusing on gang activity. He is on standard paid administrative leave and the incident is under investigation, police said.

"He's doing good but nobody likes to be in this type of situation," Lt. David Moss said. "No officer ever wants to be put in a situation of having to use deadly force."

Velasquez was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer and resisting an officer. Charges are pending regarding the stabbing, police said.

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