KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The night of a shooting in a Target parking lot where deputies allegedly killed a man, the deputies were not wearing body cameras, according to Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez.
Lopez released those new details in a statement Wednesday, that also asked the media and the community for patience as the state investigates the case.
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Records show deputies opened fire on a black Audi, killing the driver, 20-year-old Jayden Baez, on April 27.
The sheriff’s office said deputies were trying to make contact with two men — Edwin Lowe, 19, and Michael Samuel Gomez, 18 — who were seen entering the store, selecting an empty bag and loading it with packs of Pokémon cards and a pizza, then getting into the Audi.
However, the sheriff’s office has not explained why the deputies opened fire on the car. In the statement released by Lopez, he said he turned the case over to the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement because he believes in transparency, though an FDLE investigation is standard procedure in cases where a law enforcement officer uses deadly force.
Lopez did offer some new information in the statement, saying the deputies were performing training exercises in a nearby parking lot before the shooting took place.
“Because they were training, my deputies were wearing tactical gear and none of the initial deputies on scene were equipped with body cameras,” Lopez said.
“It is also a fact that suspects in this case stole items from Target and got into a vehicle. It is at this point my deputies attempted to detain the individuals in the car,” he continued. “The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating exactly what took place during the attempted detention of the suspects.”
Lopez also said he will not release the names of the deputies involved in the shooting, invoking Marsy’s Law, a Florida Constitutional amendment normally used to protect the identities of victims of a crime. Lopez also said he did not release the names of the suspect because he was unaware if they had invoked Marsy’s Law.
“I ask the media and the community for their patience as we wait for the investigation to be completed. It is important that all of us, my agency, the community, and the media, wait for the truth,” Lopez said.
Attorneys for Baez’s family are preparing to file a lawsuit against the sheriff’s office, calling the shooting a misuse of police authority.
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