It is important that the community understands I turned the investigation regarding my deputy’s use of deadly force over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) the night of the shooting and they are the agency that will be conducting interviews and gathering evidence. The Sheriff’s Office is not involved in that process. However, I am aware of the circumstances leading up to the shooting.
Immediately prior to the shooting, several members of my agency were performing training exercises in a nearby parking lot. Because they were training, my deputies were wearing tactical gear and none of the initial deputies on the scene were equipped with body cameras. It is also a fact that the suspects, in this case, stole items from Target and got into a vehicle. It is at this point my deputies attempted to detain the individuals in the car. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating exactly what took place during the attempted detention of the suspects. I turned the investigation over to FDLE because I believe in transparency, and I am confident FDLE will perform a thorough and independent investigation. Once the facts of what took place are determined, I will comment. However, I am not going to speculate and potentially provide erroneous information to the community when I personally do not know the facts.
I am not releasing the names of the deputies involved in the shooting because their identity is protected under the Florida Constitution through what is referred to as Marcy’s Law. I also did not release the names of the suspects, because I was unaware if they have also invoked Marcy’s Law and I want to be as fair as possible during this tragic incident.
According to records from the Osceola Sheriff’s Office, the shooting on April 27 involved Osceola Deputies who tried to make contact with 19-year-old Edwin Lowe and 18-year-old Michael Samuel Gomez, who had entered the Target store, then loaded packs of Pokémon cards and a pizza into an empty bag and then exited the store and got into their nearby vehicle.
According to an Osceola County Sheriff’s Office affidavit, “A takedown was attempted which resulted in an officer-involved shooting.”
The Osceola County Fire/Rescue EMS reported that the four individuals in the car were transported to Partin Settlement ER, where one died from injuries sustained in the shooting.