Armed man shot to death by police in Hialeah suffered from depression, family says

Police: John Helvie wielded rifle in Hialeah shopping center parking lot

HIALEAH, Fla. – Grieving family and friends of a man who was shot to death by police Monday in Hialeah are still in shock about what happened.

No one saw the incident coming, including John Helvie's Miramar neighbors, the contractors -- Helvie had recently hired to install new kitchen cabinets -- or his mother-in-law, Maria Murton.

Murton said her daughter and Helvie have a 10-year-old child and 5-year-old child together. He also had two other sons, Josh and John Jr. and two grandchildren, Jayden and Justice.


Police said Helvie was wielding a rifle in a packed Hialeah parking lot of a shopping center Monday afternoon, prompting officers to shoot and kill him.

Police later found two additional firearms inside Helvie's green Camaro.

A witness said detectives told him Helvie had threatened to shoot others. Police have yet to confirm that information.

Murton said her daughter's husband, who had a passion for collecting firearms and restoring hot rods, had been suffering from depression. Murton said Helvie's death will be felt by his kids the most.

"My daughter, maybe she'll find somebody, fall in love again, but (the kids) will never see their father again," said Murton.

Yet in their personal tragedy, there is now a call to action to other families with a loved one suffering from depression.

"Go get help, there's help out there, you know, it could save your life," said Murton. "My son-in-law, if he had gotten help, he'd be alive right now, but he didn't want to go for help."

Helvie did have one prior arrest for petty theft. The 911 calls from Monday's incident have not been released.

Follow Christina Vazquez on Twitter @VazquezReports

Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10