This past weekend, police in Florida shot and killed a man they mistook for an attempted murder suspect.
The fatal shooting occurred around 1:30 AM on Sunday morning, when Lake County sheriff’s deputies pounded on the Leesburg apartment door of 26-year-old Andrew Lee Scott.
Scott answered the door holding a firearm.
“When we knocked on the door, the door opened and the occupant of that apartment was pointing a gun at deputies, and that’s when we opened fire and killed him,” Lt. John Herrell told local reporters.
“Even though this subject is not the one we were looking for when he opened the door. He was pointing the gun at the deputy and if you put yourselves in the deputy’s shoes. They were there to pick up someone who was wanted for an attempted homicide,” Herrell continued.
But deputies never identified themselves as law enforcement, claiming it would have put their lives in jeopardy.
“What I learned after I released that information, is that the deputies did not announce their presence because of the tactical situation — they wanted every advantage that they had, so they didn’t want to announce their presence loudly… the guy could’ve shot through the door, shot through the window, something like that,” said Herrell.
Police were under the impression they were pursuing Jonathan Brown, a man accused of attempted murder. Brown had parked his motorcycle in front of Andrew Scott’s door at the Blueberry Hills Apartment complex.
“It’s just a bizarre set of circumstances,” Herrell explained. “The bottom line is, you point a gun at a deputy sheriff or police office, you’re going to get shot.”
However, Scott’s family sees the situation differently.
Billy Scott, the victim’s uncle, said his nephew had no idea deputies were outside his door, and he had every right to point his gun at them.
“I believe the officer that shot him, he needs to go to jail for murder, because that’s exactly what it was — murder,” he said.
It took police about an hour to realize they had killed the wrong guy, according to reports. Later, they were able to nab Brown and another suspect at a different apartment complex. The two are currently at the Lake County Jail, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
Officials say that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is now investigating the shooting and the officer who shot Scott has been placed on administrative leave.
Given the known facts, what’s your assessment of the situation?
Was the shooting justified? Or does the Lake County Sheriff’s Office have a wrongful death suit on its hands?