Kissimmee, FL – Osceola County Sheriff Marcos R. Lopez released bodycam of a deputy-involved shooting in April that occurred in front of Target after shoplifters rammed patrol vehicles as they tried to flee the area (video below).
Sheriff Lopez said deputies were near the Target parking lot for a training exercise on April 27 when they spotted a suspicious-looking black Audi, with paper over its license plate, backed into a handicapped parking space, FOX News reported.
Deputies watched two passengers get out of the car wearing masks and saw them pull their sweatshirt hoods down over their foreheads.
It turned out that the Audi was a getaway car and 20-year-old Jayden Baez was waiting behind the wheel, FOX News reported.
Deputies alerted Target security and loss prevention officers watched the two suspects enter the store, steal merchandise, and then leave without paying.
Sheriff Lopez said the two men who had shoplifted in the Target – Joseph Lowe and Michael Gomez – had been seen stealing Pokémon cards and pizza, WESH reported.
Sheriff Lopez said store security notified the deputies that the store wanted to prosecute the shoplifters, FOX News reported.
Surveillance video of the parking lot showed sheriff’s deputies used their vehicles to box in the getaway car.
The patrol vehicles’ red and blue flashing lights can be seen in the video.
“Detectives exited their vehicles and stood toward the front of the suspect car while wearing vests with the word sheriff written in four-inch-tall lettering and verbally shouted the words, ‘stop, sheriff’s office, stop’,” Sheriff Lopez told reporters.
But that didn’t stop Baez, FOX News reported.
Sheriff Lopez said Baez accelerated the Audi and rammed the barricade, damaging a total of four Osceola County sheriff’s department vehicles.
He said one of the detectives standing outside his vehicle had to jump out of the way “out of fear Mr. Baez was going to kill him,” FOX News reported.
Deputies opened fire on the Audi and three people were shot, Orlando Weekly reported.
The getaway driver was killed.
The sheriff said that when Baez was pulled from the Audi, he dropped a gold handgun with an extended magazine.
Although the entire incident was captured on the parking lot security cameras, deputies were not wearing bodycams because they had been on a training exercise rather than on patrol when they intervened in the shoplifting incident, FOX News reported.
Sheriff Lopez told reporters on May 9 that there was evidence Baez committed aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, and multiple other offenses before he was fatally shot, WESH reported.
He said Baez, Lowe, Gomez, and the unidentified juvenile who was in the car with them all had criminal histories.
The sheriff said Baez had previous arrests for burglary with assault and battery, giving a false name while under arrest, escape from a facility or in transport, battery, and violating probation, according to FOX News.
Mark NeJame, an attorney representing Baez and some of the other suspects, has made multiple public statements about the shooting and claimed that his clients didn’t know the deputies were law enforcement officers.
Sheriff Lopez has called the statements “misinformation” that caused outrage in the community, FOX News reported.
“There has been misinformation published,” the sheriff said. “This information was shared by people who have potential financial motivation and obvious goals to talk quickly and loudly before the facts are established.”
“I believe that our citizens can be patient while we conduct and conclude the investigations, and I am committed to providing the citizens of our community reliable information at the conclusions of those investigations. I thank the citizens of Osceola County for their trust,” he added.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FLDE) is heading up the investigation into the deputy-involved shooting, WESH reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below: