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Suspects Identified in Wednesday’s F-Section Standoff

The arrest of Robert Detherow. ⓒ Flagler County Sheriff's Office

The two men arrested at the conclusion of Wednesday’s hours-long standoff in the F Section have been identified in a statement released by the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office. 55-year-old Robert Detherow and 23-year-old Kaleb Smith were both booked into the county jail on separate charges.

The incident took around seven hours to resolve from its inception, and ended considerably more peacefully than Sheriff Rick Staly said he thought it would. Neither suspect was seriously injured after a situation that involved the alleged assault of a deputy and a standoff inside a home with several firearms.

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Things began at around 6:33 am Wednesday, when a noise complaint was placed against 94 Forsythe Lane, who had apparently been blasting music all through the night and had set himself up with chairs, a blanket, a table, and a lit candle in the middle of the road according to the FCSO. The residence was identified as being that of 22-year-old Hunter Detherow, an ex-Marine who was arrested in March for allegedly stabbing one man and beating another at a local gas station. However, Hunter has been in jail ever since, and so it became apparent another resident was responsible for the disturbance.

A ‘Full Frontal’ Assault

According to Sheriff Staly, a female deputy responded and attempted to contact who has now been identified as Hunter’s father, Robert Detherow. Also an ex-Marine and a former law enforcement officer, Detherow had been posting videos to YouTube in the days leading up challenging Staly to arrest him, calling for Staly’s own arrest, and saying he was armed with his King James Bible in case he was killed for his political activism. Staly called him a ‘religious fanatic’.

When the female deputy along with other deputies approached Detherow, he’s said to have disrobed and begun masturbating in front of them. The deputies stepped back and called for backup. Detherow is said to have then begun throwing things at the deputies, including glass bottles. More units came to the scene, apparently prompting Detherow to re-enter his home before exiting again to yell at the deputies.

Responding agencies included the FCSO’s Crisis Negotiation Team, Behavioral Response Team, and SWAT Team, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Flagler County Fire Rescue. The bomb squad was summoned out due to the unknown nature of some of the materials in the Detherows’ home, which Staly described as being messy and stuffed with junk. Hunter Detherow’s arrest made the FCSO aware there were several guns inside at least in March, but Staly said the FCSO could not legally seize them.

Closing In

At one point, deputies shot Detherow with a less-lethal 40mm rubber bullet, designed to hinder a criminal suspect without gravely injuring them. Detherow is said to have retreated back inside, rejecting all attempts to communicate with him. An arrest warrant was then obtained for him on a felony charge of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, along with a search warrant for his home.

Over the course of the standoff, Detherow’s Forsythe Lane neighbors were evacuated as precaution and power to his home was cut off. St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office personnel breached the garage door with a Rook armored critical incident vehicle with the help of the FCSO’s SWAT BearCat, allowing a robotic camera device to be piloted inside the home.

Deputies identified Detherow inside along with another man, later identified as Smith. At some point soon thereafter Smith is said to have exited the residence, leading to him also being struck with a less-lethal 40mm rubber bullet, causing him to fall to the ground. He was promptly arrested, at which point he advised deputies that only Detherow remained inside.

Detherow is said to have then kicked the robot over, before stepping back outside the home shortly later. A scuffle is said to have ensued between Detherow and the responding deputies as he was handcuffed and arrested, ending the standoff some seven hours after it began. A search was conducted on the home, leading to the discovery of seven firearms and ammunition. This time, they were seized by the FCSO.

A Litany of Charges

Detherow and Smith’s mugshots. ⓒ Flagler County Sheriff’s Office

As of Thursday afternoon Smith remains in jail on one misdemeanor charge of resisting an officer without violence. His bond was set at $500, and he has no prior bookings in the Flagler County Jail.

Detherow’s charges are considerably numerous and severe, despite it being his first booking in Flagler County as well. He was charged with three felony counts of assault on a law enforcement officer, two felony counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, one felony charge of battery on a law enforcement officer, and one felony charge of corruption by threat against a public servant, presumably for his various YouTube statements about Staly.

Additionally, Detherow was also charged with six misdemeanors: two counts of exposure of sexual organs (one of them for a first offender), two counts of assault on an officer, and two counts of resisting an officer without violence. All in all he was charged with seven felonies and six misdemeanors, leading to his bond being set at $39,000. He and his son are, as of Thursday, both simultaneously in the Flagler County Jail together.

“Thankfully, we were able to resolve this situation without anyone getting hurt,” said Staly after the incident. “It was a very long and hot day, with many deputies and our specialty equipment being used to deal with subjects who were not being compliant. This was a very dangerous situation for the deputies and his neighbors. I commend our deputies for the patience they displayed and their ability to deescalate the situation for a successful resolution. I also thank the neighbors that understood the dangerousness of the situation and voluntarily left their home or sheltered in place. I also thank the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI for their assistance. This man taunted me and FCSO to arrest him and we did.”

A spokesperson with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office acknowledged the possibility that Detherow suffers from a behavioral or cognitive ailment of some sort, possibly tied to his Marine or law enforcement service, but could not confirm if any conditions were known definitely by the FCSO.

Below is the video posted by Detherow in which he seemingly challenged Staly to arrest him:

Written By

Chris Gollon is a Flagler County resident since 2004, as well as a staple of the local independent music scene and avid observer of Central Florida politics, arts, and recreation.

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