Orlando, FL – Police have released bodycam video of an officer-involved shooting in the Florida Mall parking lot on Aug. 7 that left 22-year-old Salaythis Melvin dead (video below).
The incident occurred when Orange County sheriff’s deputies spotted a man they had been looking for on a warrant for felon in possession of a handgun and Melvin happened to be with him, WESH reported.
Orange County Sheriff’s Agent James Montiel said that he saw Melvin had a gun.
According to the police report, the suspect was holding the firearm in his waistband with his right hand, making the deputy reasonably fear that Melvin was going to draw the gun and shoot at him, WESH reported.
The police report said Agent Montiel said Melvin “turned his head and started to face [Montiel] while still holding his firearm.”
The report said that prompted the agent to believe Melvin was going to draw his gun on him so he opened fire, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Bodycam videos released by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office captured only a split second of Melvin running across the parking lot before he dropped to the ground.
It’s not possible to see who was firing at him in the video, nor did the bodycam video show what happened before Melvin began running.
Bodycam video from inside the vehicle of a deputy responding to the scene showed several deputies quickly surrounded Melvin after he fell to the pavement.
Initially, bodycam video showed Melvin continued squirming around and kicking his legs as deputies ordered him not to reach for his weapon.
Once he stopped moving, deputies approached and began rendering First Aid.
The deputies put the wounded suspect on his back and cut his shirt open looking for exit wounds but didn’t find one, the video showed.
So they rolled him back over and packed the gunshot wound they found on his back.
The video showed one of the deputies performing chest compressions and then stopping when it was clear that Melvin was breathing.
An ambulance arrived in the mall parking lot eight minutes after Melvin was shot and he was transported to the hospital where he later died, WESH reported.
A stolen, loaded handgun was recovered by deputies at the scene, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Three other people were arrested during the incident.
The first was the man with the warrant the deputies were looking for when the confrontation began, and another on a probation violation, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
The third person was later released without charges.
Lawyers for Melvin’s family said after the bodycam was released that Melvin had posed no threat to law enforcement, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
“From what we’ve looked at so far and what we can see from our own eyes it’s clear that Salaythis Melvin was not a threat,” attorney Bradley Laurent told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday. “It’s clear that he was just running. He was trying to get away.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the incident, WESH reported.
Carlus Haynes, another attorney for Melvin’s family, has accused the authorities of giving the deputy preferential treatment, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
“This young man … he was murdered,” Haynes said. “If I shot someone else who was running from me, they would say ‘where is the threat, Mr. Haynes?”
“That man is running too fast to look back at anyone,” he added.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content: