Marion County SWAT team standoff ends with suicide


The Marion County Sheriff's Office SWAT team uses an armored vehicle during a standoff in Ocala Estates on Sunday morning.

Doug Engle/Ocala Star-Banner
Published: Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 6:37 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 6:37 p.m.

OCALA — The Marion County Sheriff's Office Special Weapons and Tactics team was called Sunday morning to the Ocala Estates home of an armed man who reportedly threatened a deputy and fired a shot, and then later took his own life.

The SWAT team blocked off the street and evacuated neighbors. After unsuccessful attempts to reach the man by phone, the SWAT team sent in a robot equipped with a camera at about 12:15 p.m. that showed his body. Deputies then entered the front door and confirmed that Joseph Yonkin, 25, was dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Undersheriff Dan Kuhn said Deputy Chris Erickson went to the white and green mobile home at 11770 NW 11th Place about 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning to answer a disturbance call.

Yonkin reportedly had broken the front window of the mobile home and threatened Erickson with a long gun telling him to get off the property and fired a shot. The deputy called for assistance and the SWAT team and a negotiating team went to the scene, where they tried to make contact with Yonkin. At some point, a second shot was fired.

According to Sheriff spokeswoman Jenifer Lowe, Yonkin and his estranged girlfriend, Chantel Kasco, 24, were at a party drinking on Saturday night. The couple had been separated for several months. They spent Saturday night at Yonkin's home. Kasco left the home Sunday morning. When she returned, she found Yonkin had thrown her belongings in the yard. It was unclear Sunday whether the couple had argued before she left the residence or after she returned. Yonkin subsequently barricaded himself in the home.

While attempts were being made to contact Yonkin in the home, Kasco was safe in the care of deputies. No one else was in the home at the time.

Deputies were not certain Sunday exactly when Yonkin shot himself.

Lowe said deputies were not releasing the caliber of the weapon pending further investigation.

Relatives who lived next door were too upset to speak with reporters.

Following Yonkin's death, Kasco spoke with deputies and then drove away.

James Bowen, a neighbor down the street, said he did not know Yonkin but had seen him and others coming and going from the house. He said deputies had told him and his family to stay in the house and toward the rear of his home during the incident.

Contact Susan Latham Carr at 352-867-4156 or susan.carr@starbanner.com.

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