According to police officials, two Florida Panhandle deputies shot and wounded an unarmed black man in his driveway over the weekend. The police deputies said they feared for their safety and opened fire.
On Monday, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said that the deputies responded to a 911 call about a possible burglary early Saturday. They found 60-year-old Roy Middleton, searching through a car.
According to the deputies, they told Middleton to show his hands multiple times. Instead, he lunged out of the car and spun toward them. Morgan stated the deputies, fearing for their safety, opened fire, hitting Middleton in the leg.
As much as we are trained and as much as officers — which have Type A personalities — like to say we are in control, we are not.”
Escambia County Sheriff Morgan, during the news conference, played the 911 call made by a neighbor, along with the corresponding radio traffic from officers on the scene.
Roy Middleton has said all he was doing was searching his mother’s Lincoln Town Car for a loose cigarette when the deputies approached.
When he backed out of the vehicle, he had his car keys in his hand with a metal flashlight attached.
Middleton’s mother, 77-year-old Ceola Walker, had been sleeping but awoke when she heard the disturbance outside the home.
I heard the shots. (The deputies) told me to close the door and not come out. They called an ambulance for him.”
The Pensacola News-Journal has reported that his mother expects him to leave the hospital later this week. Middleton suffered broken bones in his left thigh that will require a metal rod.
Ceola Walker thanked God her son hadn’t been killed:
He’s my only son and for that to happen was just devastating. We know it wasn’t anyone but God that saved him.”
According to Walker, her son was simply getting something from the car they both share:
He was just coming home like he usually does. I don’t understand why they had to use so much force under the situation. I don’t understand how they could fire so many shots at him. He wasn’t resisting or anything and he was at his own house.”
Neighbors stated they were shocked. They reported that they heard more than seven shots fired.
This appears to be an accurate description of what they heard, as at least five bullet holes could be found in Walker’s car and a few in the side of her home.
Family members told the Pensacola News-Journal (http://goo.gl/L2lfbV) that they’ve found 17 shell casings around the driveway, along with bullet holes in the car.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the incident. The deputies involved have been placed on paid administrative leave. This is a standard practice in deputy-involved shootings.
Written by: Douglas Cobb