Florida law enforcement officials are investigating reports that an unarmed man was shot by police in his own driveway while retrieving cigarettes from his mother’s car.
Roy Middleton, a 60-year-old resident of Warrington, Fla., was shot in the leg by Escambia County sheriff’s deputies on Saturday, the Pensacola News Journal reports. The shooting reportedly took place on Middleton’s driveway, as he attempted to retrieve a cigarette from his mother’s car. That’s when police arrived on the scene, investigating a report of a possible vehicle break-in, Fox 10 reports.
Middleton claims that he was searching the car for a loose cigarette when he heard someone say, “Get your hands where I can see them,” the News Journal reports. The 60-year-old initially thought a neighbor was playing a joke on him, but he turned to find Escambia County police standing with guns drawn.
The 60-year-old says that he exited his mother’s car with his arms raised, but police opened fire anyway, the News Journal reports. “It was like a firing squad,” Middleton told the paper. “Bullets were flying everywhere.”
Middleton remains in a local hospital and reportedly faces several weeks of recovery. “I’m just glad they didn’t hit me here or here,” he told the News Journal, indicating his chest and head. “My mother’s car is full of bullet holes though.”
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“He was just coming home like he usually does. I don’t understand why they had to use so much force under the situation,” Middleton’s mother, Ceola Walker, told Fox 10. “I don’t understand how they could fire so many shots at him. He wasn’t resisting or anything and he was at his own house.”
Middleton added that he doesn’t understand what caused officers to perceive him as a threat and shoot him. “Even if they thought the car was stolen, all they had to do was run the license plate,” Middleton told the News Journal. “They would have seen that that car belonged there.”
The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment on the Middleton shooting Saturday, but the incident is currently being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the News Journal reports. The deputies responsible for shooting Middleton have reportedly been placed on administrative leave.