PHOTOS/VIDEO: Deputies shoot to death gunman in Bonita Springs

Timothy Allen Baum, 54

Timothy Allen Baum, 54

Deputies fatally shoot suspect in Bonita

— Lee County deputies remain at the scene of a fatal shooting in Bonita Springs, in which an officer killed a man believed to be armed.

Authorities have identified the victim as Timothy Allen Baum, 54, of 27898 New York St.

Neighbors said Baum had been acting strangely in recent days.

"He was violent, it seemed that any little thing would set him off," neighbor Roberto Cruz said in Spanish. "All of the neighbors were afraid. He would come out of his house yelling."

Deputies responded to Baum's house six times in the past 16 days due to complaints made by Baum and Baum's neighbors. Friends said Baum had been fighting with his girlfriend and appeared to be under a great deal of stress.

On Thursday night, deputies responded to Iowa Street around 8:40 on a report of an armed man. Neighbors said they heard a single shot around the same time.

Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott said he was at the scene late Thursday night and that he believed the shooting was justified. He said the man was armed.

"Unfortunately, when it's deadly force, the only way to meet that is deadly force," he said.

The home, a brown manufactured house on the corner of New York and Iowa streets, was cordoned off by crime scene tape and watched by a deputy on Friday morning. Crime scene technicians combed the yard for clues and photographed the scene. A helicopter circled for overhead pictures.

Friends stopped by throughout the morning.

One man, who did not give his name because he had yet to speak with police, told reporters he made the 911 call that sparked the shooting. The friend said he, Baum and Baum's girlfriend had been drinking, when the suspect picked up a gun. The friend drove away and alerted deputies.

"It was getting stupid, so I called the cops," the friend said.

The man said Baum, a Vietnam veteran and a carpenter, was a hard worker who seemed out of sorts in recent days. He said Baum lived with his girlfriend, whom he didn't name, and that the two were fighting.

"He's been going through it lately," the friend said. "He's having problems with his girlfriend and the cops have been here a lot."

Another friend, Stacy Yingst, 37, said she last saw Baum a few days ago. His girlfriend had moved into the house recently, she said, and Baum wanted her out.

"The guy was so down to earth and like a brother to me," she said.

Deputies were also familiar with Baum. They responded to his home six times in March. Among the complaints:

n On March 16, Baum complained that his neighbors had damaged his water pump, likely in retaliation for his noise complaints against them. Deputies found no damage to the pump.

n On March 20, an unidentified female complained that Baum hit her in the face.

n On March 24, Baum's girlfriend, Laurie Rossey, complained that Baum assaulted her.

n On Sunday, Baum complained to deputies that Rossey was "going crazy" and possibly taking his pills.

n On Monday, Baum told deputies he believed his house had been robbed by someone he knew, and he asked them to check the residence in case the man returned.

n On Tuesday around 11 p.m., deputies received several calls about gunshots at Baum's residence.

Baum's neighbors described a man who was standoffish and frequently angry at them. Opposite Baum's house is a trailer park with mostly Hispanic residents. Several interviewed on Friday said that Baum yelled at them when they played music.

"I knew him, but only from a distance," neighbor Dulce Estrella, 20, said in Spanish. "He didn't like the music that my sister played, and he would come over and yell things in English that we didn't understand. They weren't good things."

Baum complained to deputies about his neighbors' music in September of last year, according to Sheriff's Office records.

Baum's next-door neighbor on New York Street, Aracely Paz, 34, said Baum had been yelling and firing a gun on Tuesday. She heard six shots that night, before police arrived and things settled down.

On Thursday night, Paz heard a single shot, and it sounded like a different gun, she said. When she looked out the window she saw a deputy's car. She also two men leave quickly, one by car and one on foot, she recalled.

Baum was in the yard, face down and handcuffed behind his back, Paz recalled. He was still moving, but as an ambulance neared, she saw a deputy give him CPR. Paramedics placed an oxygen mask on his face, she said.

Paz said Baum and his girlfriend could often be heard yelling at one another. The neighborhood was otherwise tranquil, she said.

"Everybody's quiet," she said. "Only him."

POSTED EARLIER

Lee County sheriff’s deputies say they shot and killed a gunman in Bonita Springs late Thursday.

According to sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Stephanie Eller, at around 8:40 p.m. deputies responded to call in reference to an armed subject near the intersection of Bonita Beach Road and Iowa Street.

When deputies arrived on scene, Eller said, they found the armed man and that shots were fired.

The suspect was fatally wounded, Eller said, but the deputy was not injured.

Deputies cordoned off Iowa and Vermont streets, as well as New York Street, which intersects both streets in the back. The shooting occurred in Campo New York trailer park and neighbors were walking around outside their homes, many unaware of the shooting until well after police and an ambulance had arrived.

“The deputies in the Major Crimes Unit have responded and we are in the very early stages of the investigation,” Eller said shortly after 11 p.m. Thursday.

Neither the identity of the armed gunman or the Lee deputy has been released.

Hours after the shooting, sheriff's deputies were still out in force on Iowa Street and the surrounding streets.

Iowa Street from Georgia Street to Bonita Beach Road remained cordoned off at 12:30 a.m. Friday, with patrol cars stationed at each intersection and across streets near the crime scene.

In contrast, apart from the occasional resident peering out of his or her front door or walking down side streets, the neighborhood was returned to an eerie calm.

"Nothing like this has ever happened here," said Feliz Ortiz, 32, a resident of the trailer park, who was trying to get home from work just before midnight. He said he's lived in the park for about five years.

Ortiz, who called the neighborhood relatively quiet, said working families and some single residents live in the trailer park.

For more information check back with www.naplesnews.com.

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