KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez will hold a news conference Monday afternoon to discuss what he says were “additional criminal acts” committed at a Target store where a deputy opened fire, leaving a 20-year-old man dead.
The news conference is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. at the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office on East Irlo Bronson Highway in Kissimmee.
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In a brief news release, the sheriff’s office said Lopez will not comment on “any aspect of the officer involved shootings as it is currently being handled by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and remains an open investigation.”
Many questions remain after deputies opened fire last month, killing 20-year-old Jayden Baez. Another person was hit in the hand by bullet shrapnel and two others were hurt when they fell while trying to run from the scene, according to Osceola County Fire Rescue.
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 Target store, selecting an empty bag and loading it with packs of Pokémon cards and a pizza, then getting into the Audi.
The sheriff’s office has not explained why the deputies opened fire on the car.
“When I first took office, I promised transparency,” Lopez said last week. “I turn (the investigation) over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement so they could do their investigation. Once that investigation is concluded, then we’ll talk about it. We’ll have all the facts, and we’ll go forward from there. That’s all I’m stating.”
Lopez said in a recent statement 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.
Attorney Mark Nejame is representing Baez’s family.
“There were no bodycams on,” Nejame said. “What we’ve heard is an excuse for that, ‘Well it’s tactical training.’ Well if it’s tactical training you should have your body cams on.”
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