for immediate release
July 3, 2004

N E W S   R E L E A S E

The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) are investigating the death of a man in who was in the custody of the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office early this morning (Saturday morning).

Demetrius Tillman Nelson, age 44 (10-29-1959), of Pensacola, was pronounced dead at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast after being transported from the Destin Commons shopping complex by Okaloosa Emergency Medical Services.

Deputy Frank Hawley and Sergeant JD Peacock, both working an off-duty security detail at Destin Commons, encountered Nelson, his girlfriend, Roni J. Fisk, age 26 (8-10-1977), and her three children, ages 4, 6, and 8, in the shopping center's parking lot a few minutes before midnight, after they were notified a possible domestic disturbance in progress.

Nelson's party, en route to Pensacola from Panama City, had pulled into Destin Commons when his 1995 Isuzu overheated. Deputy Hawley reported he was helping Nelson search for the car's lost radiator cap when Nelson became incoherent and aggressive. Deputies and Destin Commons security staff attempted to restrain Nelson when he grabbed one of the children. Nelson struggled violently, even after Deputies used a Taser stun gun. Nelson was subdued, shackled, and placed in the rear of a patrol car. Okaloosa Emergency Medical Services was summoned to examine a facial cut sustained by Nelson during the struggle. Nelson had been examined, and returned to the back seat of a patrol car when he went into apparent respiratory arrest, with the ambulance still at the scene.

An autopsy is planned this afternoon (Saturday).


for more information contact Sgt. Rick Hord, Public Information Officer

(850) 651-7420