A man who lives near a Hernando County crime scene summed up how most feel about what happened in the quiet Spring Hill neighborhood Saturday afternoon.
"It's just the weirdest," explained Steve Hulgin. "It's just strange."
Some might also call the unusual turn of events tragic.
Investigators say an unidentified woman - wearing no clothes - was shot and killed Saturday afternoon by two off-duty law enforcement officers.
It all started when the woman approached a home at 9070 Orchard Parkway where a party was going on.
Rocky Allen Howard, a 31-year-old detective with the Hernando County Sheriff's Office and William Mechler, a 26-year-old officer with the Tampa Police Department, were in attendance at the gathering.
Authorities say in addition to being stark naked the woman was acting in a strange manner.
"She was just acting irrational," said Hernando County Sheriff Al Neinhuis. "It was obvious being naked she was not in her right mind."
Sheriff Neinhuis reports the unidentified female eventually left. Someone at the party called 9-1-1 to report her but before deputies could arrive at the scene to investigate she returned.
"She came back with a weapon and confronted both the Tampa police officer and my sheriff's office detective," Neinhuis added.
Detectives have not said what type of weapon the deceased was carrying. Apparently it appeared dangerous enough to the officers that they felt it necessary to use deadly force.
"She came with a weapon and I would surmise that they felt their life was in danger," Neinhuis said.
Detective Howard – who has worked for the Hernando County Sheriff's Office for six years - has been place on administrative leave with pay following the incident.
A release from TPD says Mechler too has been placed on paid administrative leave while officials with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigate.
Mechler has been a law enforcement officer for four years and worked for the Dade City Police Department before joining TPD.
It's believed the two officers are friends.
Hulgin says the neighborhood is a close knit community where everyone knows each other.
He says many are hoping they don't know the identity of the deceased.
"It's just a really bizarre story," Hulgin said. "Then having to kill her; shoot her in your own yard. It's just strange."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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