FL Deputy Dies After Altercation with Suspect

Sgt. Kunovich experienced "medical distress" and collapsed at the scene just moments after the suspect was disarmed. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

St. Johns County (FL) Sheriff's Office Sergeant Michael Kunovich died Friday after experiencing medical distress following an altercation with a suspect.

Around 9 p.m., Sgt. Kunovich made contact with a man sitting in a dark parking lot outside of a business in St. Augustine. The man was later tentatively identified as Vergilio Aguilar Mendez, SJCSO said. 

Mendez was being patted down for weapons by Sgt. Kunovich when he pulled away and attempted to flee. Additional deputies arrived to assist with the struggle before Mendez attempted to grab Sgt. Kunovich's taser. The struggle lasted for around 6 minutes, officials said. 

Once the man was handcuffed, he pulled out a pocket knife, which was forcefully removed by deputies, officials say. 

Sgt. Kunovich experienced "medical distress" and collapsed at the scene just moments after Mendez was disarmed, according to a Facebook post made by the Sheriff's Office. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital. 

Mendez is facing charges for resisting with violence and felony murder. He is being held in the St. Johns County Jail on a $50,000 bond.

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