Florida Tragedy Man Fatally Shot by Deputy After Allegedly Throwing Child into Fire, Claiming Demon Possession

by Jessica

In a shocking incident reported by Law and Crime on December 21, 2023, a tragic event unfolded in Sebring, Florida, where a 39-year-old man, Richard Myron Ham, was fatally shot by a deputy. The incident occurred after Ham allegedly threw his girlfriend’s 9-year-old son into a fire, asserting that the child was possessed by a demon.

According to the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office, Ham and his girlfriend, Lakenya Lavonn Phillips, 30, were burning the belongings of Phillips’ son on the side of the road. Disturbingly, Ham grabbed the child and placed him into the flames, covering him with a burning blanket. Fortunately, the boy managed to escape with minor injuries and was subsequently taken into custody by the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Deputies responded to the scene following a report of suspects burning debris, including live ammunition. Upon arrival, they found Ham armed with two metal rods. Ham reportedly resisted deputies’ orders and refused to comply with a taser. Phillips allegedly handed one of the rods to Ham, who used it to strike a deputy in the head. In response, another deputy discharged his weapon, resulting in Ham being taken to the hospital and pronounced dead.

Phillips was arrested and faces charges of aggravated child abuse, resisting an officer with violence, and tampering with evidence. During the incident, she allegedly pushed deputies as they attempted to assist Ham.

One deputy sustained injuries and was treated and released from the hospital. Both deputies, with eight and 16 years of experience, have been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation by the 10th Judicial Circuit’s Officer Involved Deadly Incident Task Force.

The sheriff’s office revealed that Phillips and her son were reported missing and endangered from Wichita, Kansas, on December 6. It remains unclear when or why they arrived in Highlands County. A search of the vehicle driven by Ham and Phillips uncovered multiple firearms and drugs.

Disturbingly, the 9-year-old boy, when interviewed by deputies, disclosed neglect and abuse. He stated that he had not bathed or brushed his teeth in at least 10 days and had not eaten for at least 24 hours. Additionally, he revealed that Ham and Phillips were drug users, and Ham had threatened him with a large knife, claiming to have killed someone with it.

Authorities are collaborating with law enforcement agencies in multiple states to verify the statements made by the young boy as part of their ongoing investigation.

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