Unarmed Florida man shot by police 'firing squad'
Two sheriff’s deputies – Jeremiak Meeks and Matthew White – responded to a 911 call about a possible burglary at approximately 3am local time on Saturday. When they arrived, Roy Middleton was leaning into his mother’s car in front of his home, looking for cigarettes.
The officers claim they called out to Middleton several times, demanding that he put up his hands before he supposedly lunged at them.
Middleton, who was unarmed except for keys and a flashlight, was shot in the leg. At least five bullets hit his mother’s car and the side of her house.
“It was like a firing squad,” Middleton told the Pensacola News Journal, maintaining that he backed out of the car slowly and made his hands visible before police shot him. “Bullets were flying everywhere.”
Middleton said he would recover within several weeks but that a metal rod would need to be implanted into his leg. Despite several shattered bones, his wounds are not life-threatening.
“Even if they thought the car was stolen, all they had to do was run the license plate,” he said. “They would have seen that the car belonged there.”
Escambia County Sherriff David Morgan said in a news conference Monday that the two deputies, who have been placed on paid administrative leave, were in “fear for their safety.”
“As much as we are trained and as much as officers – which have Type A personalities – like to say we are in control, we are not,” Morgan said.
Multiple neighbors said they were woken by the police shooting. One resident said the incident made her want to lock her doors at night.
“I thought it was firecrackers, my girlfriend didn’t,” one man said to WEAR-TV. “Then we jumped up to look out the window and saw deputies carrying shotguns and stuff.”
Middleton’s mother, Ceola Walker, was asleep inside when multiple bullets hit the side of her home.
“He was just coming home like he usually does,” she told Fox 10 TV. “I don’t understand why they had to use so much force under the situation. 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.”