Escambia Deputies Fire 17 Shots at Unarmed 60-Year-Old Man Roy Middleton at His Own Home
Two Florida sheriff’s deputies responding to a call about a possible burglary fired 17 shots at an unarmed man in his own front yard on Saturday, miraculously only hitting him in his leg.
The Pensacola News Journal reports Escambia County Sheriff’s deputies received a 911 call about a possible burglary at a home in the 200 block of Shadow Lawn Lane in Warrington early on Saturday morning. Deputies Jeremiah Weeks and Matthew White arrived on the scene and witnessed 60-year-old Roy Middleton rummaging through a Lincoln Town Car in the driveway of the home. Unbeknownst to the deputies, Middleton was on his own property searching his mother’s car for loose cigarettes.
Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan claimed his deputies repeatedly ordered Middleton to show his hands, but that he spun toward them and caused them to “fear for their safety.” Middleton claims he turned around with his hands raised in the air, a claim corroborated by a witness who wished to remain anonymous.
The deputies then fired repeatedly at Middleton; his mother, 77-year-old Ceola Walker, says she found 17 shell casings in her carport. Middleton was struck in his leg, shattering bones in his left thigh. He will require surgery to insert a metal rod in the injured leg. His mother’s car was struck by numerous bullets.
“It was like a firing squad,” Middleton said of the shooting. “Bullets were flying everywhere,” he told the News Journal.
“I thought it was firecrackers,” neighbor Sam Barton told WEAR. “My girlfriend didn’t, then we jumped up to look out the window and saw deputies carrying shotguns and stuff.”
“The police had followed him (Middleton), they thought he had stolen the car and it’s actually his mother’s car and he’s licensed to drive that vehicle,” Barton added.
Middleton is listed in good condition at Baptist Hospital in Pensacola. Walker said she expects her son to return home by Wednesday.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the incident, and the deputies involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Frank Middleton, Roy’s 66-year-old brother, told the News Journal that he doesn’t know what to make of the shooting.
“I couldn’t believe all this stuff was happening,” the older Middleton said. “I mean he’s a good, smooth-talking guy. You’d never believe it.”
“I’m not mad, but more disappointed in the system and in the training,” Frank Middleton continued, adding that his own son is a Pensacola police officer. “They need training.”
Walker is also perplexed why deputies shot her son.
“I don’t get what happened or why it happened,” she told WALA. “I don’t understand why they fired so many shots. He wasn’t resisting and he was at his own house.”
More than anything, Walker is just glad her son survived the incident.
“He could’ve been killed,” she told the News Journal. “The Lord shielded him.”
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