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Former BPD officer, PBA representative charged with domestic violence

The Calhoun-Liberty Journal of Bristol, Florida

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Steve Mears arrested Tuesday afternoon

A former law enforcement officer and investigator was arrested Tuesday afternoon on a felony domestic battery charge following an altercation with his ex-wife at her home on SE CR 69.

Steve Mears, 38, was taken into custody without incident at his Blountstown home, according to Calhoun County Sheriff Glenn Kimbrel.

According to the arrest report, Mear's ex-wife was found running down the road in front of her home Monday afternoon, where a passing motorist who knew her stopped to see what was wrong. The driver reported seeing Steve Mears leave the home in a green car.

Deputies were called to the scene, where the distraught woman said Mears had grabbed her around the neck and told her he was going to kill her parents. She said he also told her, "I'm going to eliminate everyone on my list." She said he indicated that afterwards, he would commit "suicide by cop," by putting himself in a situation where officers would be forced to shoot him.

The sheriff and Lt. Emory Godwin found Mears at his home Monday and urged him to undergo a mental evaluation. He agreed to be admitted to Emerald Coast Behavioral Hospital in Panama City and was transported there by a deputy.

The sheriff said he thought Mears would remain at the hospital for 72 hours but learned Tuesday he had left the facility and a warrant was issued for his arrest. "We're not sure why he was released," Kimbrel said.

Mears' former wife gave investigators the following account of what led up to the altercation:

She said Mears called her at 2:21 a.m. Monday to tell her he was outside her home and wanted to talk. After she let him in the house, he told her he wanted them to get back together. She said no.

She said he left reluctantly but before he went, he told her that she had put him "in a very dark place and ruined everyone's life."

Twenty minutes after he left, he called and told her he was going to kill himself.

She said she told him he had kids that loved him and he didn't need to do that to himself. She hung up; he did call her back that night. She later told deputies that while their two children were with him, she didn't believe he would harm himself in their presence.

When she got to work at Calhoun Correctional Institution Tuesday, she learned Mears had called someone she had been dating to tell him they had gotten back together and he did not need to contact her anymore. Mears called CCI four times that day and dialed her cell phone numerous times. When she got off work that afternoon, he was waiting at her house.

They began arguing over her cell phone and he grabbed her hand to get it. He became so angry he said he was going to "end it all" for both of them and grabbed her by the shirt and began choking her. They fell to the ground and continued to struggle before she broke free and ran toward the road.

She later told deputies if Mears had been able to drag her out of sight behind the house, she feared he would have killed her. She also stated that his behavior that day was "very out of character" and said he had never hit her, but she was worried he was going to hurt someone.

Her father came to the scene and the sheriff left to check on her mother.

The woman's mother then drove up and said Mears was at his home with their daughter and expressed fear over his statements of committing "suicide by cop."

The sheriff and Godwin met with Mears and made arrangements for him to undergo a mental evaluation.

He is being held in the Calhoun County Jail awaiting first appearance before a judge Tuesday night.

Mears is a former Blountstown Police Officer who worked under then-Chief Kimbrel. He was dismissed from his job as an investigator with the state attorney's office and later worked as a staff representative with the Police Benevolent Association (PBA). In 2006, he served in Iraq with the National Guard training Iraqi police officers and later returned to his PBA job. He currently works with Region 1 of Teamsters Local 2011 as a licensed labor organization business agent.

His ex-wife said his behavior that day was "very out of character" and said he had never hit her, but she was worried he was going to hurt someone.

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Original Publication Date: January 16, 2013

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