Sheriff’s office releases more details on deadly encounter

St. Johns County Sheriff Rob Hardwick revealed new details about the death of Sergeant Michael Kunovich. Kunovich had interacted with Vergilio Aguilar Mendez, who has been charged with capital homicide and resisting arrest. Mendez is reportedly homeless and living in the country illegally. The new information explains why Kunovich and Aguila Mendez interacted. According to the Sheriff, Kunovich was interacting with Mendez after a report of trespassing. Kunovich attempted to conduct a patdown of Mendez, who refused to comply and tried to remove a knife from his pocket. A struggle followed, during which Mendez grabbed Kunovich’s taser. After handcuffing Mendez, Kunovich collapsed and died from medical issues induced by the struggle. Kunovich and other deputies were patrolling the area of Hwy 16 and I-95 where they encountered the suspect. Mendez remains in jail without bond.