Long Key (CBS4) – A Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy plunged into the ocean off Long Key Saturday night to stop a man who allegedly said he wanted to drown himself.

According to the sheriff’s officer Deputy Nicholis Whiteman was sent to Long Key State Park around 11:30 p.m. to check on a report that a man may have overdosed on hallucinogenic mushrooms. When he arrived, paramedics were on the scene with two men. As Whiteman pulled up, one of the men, 21-year old Daniel Yepez of Miami, ran away. The other man then quickly followed.

Whiteman followed them to the beach where Yepez reportedly began talking about hurting himself. According to the sheriff’s office, Yepez then ran into the water with his friend going after him. Yepez then allegedly said he was going to drown himself and went under water.

Whiteman dropped his gun belt on the beach and dove in after Yepez who struggled violently with the deputy in the water. At one point, Yepez reportedly gave Whiteman a vicious blow to the eye with his elbow. Whiteman was able to hold Yepez in a bear hug, his head above water, until paramedics arrived.

Yepez was finally handcuffed and removed from the water. His friends told deputies he’d ingested mushrooms earlier and had begun acting strangely, talking about death.

Yepez was transported to Fishermen’s Hospital and was then booked into jail for resisting arrest with violence, possessing marijuana and possessing drug paraphernalia.

When he was released from the hospital, the sheriff’s office said Yepez thanked Whiteman for saving his life.

Comments (10)
  1. Joseph Abbott says:

    finally a good job by an officer,theres a cop i would like to shake hands with, and say thank you for doing a great job,other cops would of shot him in the water for fleeing

    1. Angela Singleton says:

      I’m a retired cop; and I think what the officer did was not heroic. It was plain stupid!! Cops are required to use common sense and the officer failed to use his. He never should have dropped his gun on the beach and dove into the water to rescue a cimbative person… Thank goodness the incident played out without anyone getting killed…

      1. objective thinker says:

        angela, i completely agree! @ jospeh, their are cops out there that do a lot of good deeds but it is not news worthy so you only hear about the bad thing.

      2. Stupid says:

        That is exactly what I would expect a woman to say….when she isnt shooting herself with her own gun by accident. People putting a human life first are the people I want protecting me.

  2. Cop Divers says:

    I heard there was a box of unopened Dunkin’ Doughnuts that was spotted floating in the water and the cop wanted to retrieve them. I would encourage more cops to jump into shark infested water.

  3. objective thinker says:

    @ stupid! it has nothing to do with her being a women, she is correct in her statement regardless of what you may think. she has prior law enforcement knowledge and knows police policy. yes this incident turned out for the best but it could have easily turned out bad. the officer could have been drowned by the person or even worse; someone on the beach could have taken the officers gun(maybe even a child). then you would be saying the officer is responsible for other being hurt by leaving a loaded gun laying around. if you have no law enforcement experience it is hard to explain the amount of liability that goes with the job and yes i speak from experience. what you think is the right thing to do and what law and policy dictate are totally different. you would be surprised as to the amount of legal trouble officer get into for doing the RIGHT thing and forgoing the rules. when an officer tries to do the right thing and it the situation turns out bad, everyone wants to condemn the police or sue.

    1. Ihatemiami says:

      good thing you retired!!! Ohh thats right serve and protect wasn’t on the agenda when you were working it was “serve me and protect my paycheck”
      Of all the stupid things to write. The butwipers in Cali can take a lesson here from little ole Monroe County, the cops here “PROTECT AND SERVE” Nice job.

      1. objective thinker says:

        you sir are an moron! serve and protect does not mean we don’t have rules to follow. if you are so wise, why don’t you get a copy of the rules and read them for yourself.

    2. iraqdeputy says:

      I see words like “could have” “but” “maybe”….these are all words that a person uses when making an excuse or in your case monday morning quarterbacking. Jesus is everyone an expert? Who was there? Not you. I can easily say things like, there were fireman guarding the officers gun belt. There were no children around. The officer has MMA fighting experiecne and prior military experience. Point is we just dont know, so dont assume you might. Others are right. People want officers like this protecting them. And there really isnt that much liability involved in the job, only if your a bad officer, and Im speaking from experience.

  4. iraqdeputy says:

    Cowards make excuses as to why they didnt do it, heroes defend their reasons as to why they did do it. Angela which one are u? A studier of policies and tactics. Are you even a cop? Do you sit behind a desk? Don’t worry you are the person that gets sued when the man drowns and you were there and did nothing. Obviously you are ok with a death on your conscious. But I forgot you were there and knew precisely what to do at that time. Making difficult decisions is a part of the job that “real cops” do well. This kid is a real cop. Others take note, step up to the plate, and SERVE and PROTECT. Serve others when they cant think and act for themselves, check this cop did it. Protect the subject from killing himself, check this cop did it. Case closed, no more monday morning quarterbacking.

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