Person of Interest in West Melbourne Death Investigation Kills Himself After Standoff With SWAT Team

Emmanuel Joe Ayala person of interest in death of Antonia Lee Crum on Nov. 18

Emmanuel Joe Ayala, 35, a person of interest in the death of Antonia Lee Crum on Nov. 18, took his life with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot after barricading himself inside a residence, according to West Melbourne Police Sgt. Graig Erenstoft. (BCSO image)

BREVARD COUNTY • WEST MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Emmanuel Joe Ayala, 35, a person of interest in the death of Antonia Lee Crum on Nov. 18, took his life with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot after a standoff with police, according to West Melbourne Police Sgt. Graig Erenstoft.

Crum, 34, was found dead by West Melbourne police officers after responding to America’s Best Value Inn, located at 4431 W. New Haven Avenue, in reference to a medical call in the early morning hours of Nov. 18.

According to Sgt. Erenstoft, upon arrival, Ayala called 911 and was on the scene when officers arrived and cooperated with investigators.

“Throughout the investigation, Ayala was a person of interest in the case but no probable cause existed for his arrest, as the medical examiner has yet to release Crum’s cause of death,” said Sgt. Erenstoft. “As the investigation proceeded, Ayala stopped cooperating with investigators.”

West Melbourne detectives then located Ayala in the City of Palm Bay and secure a search warrant to gather more information relevant to the investigation.

“Upon the arrival and entry into the residence by Palm Bay SWAT, Ayala armed himself with a handgun and barricaded himself inside the residence,” said Sgt. Erenstoft.

“After several hours of negotiating, Ayala made the decision to end the standoff by taking his life with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot. This still remains an open and ongoing investigation.”

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