Roy Middleton was unarmed and in his own driveway when deputies opened fire on him Saturday morning.
At 2:40 am on Saturday morning Escambia County 911 dispatch received a call that there was a possible break-in in progress. When deputies responded, they found 60-year-old Roy Middleton searching his mother’s car for a cigarette. The car was parked in his own driveway.
According to Middleton he heard someone say, “Get your hands where I can see them,” but thought it was a neighbor joking around with him. When he turned and saw 2 deputies standing halfway down his driveway, he backed out of the vehicle with his hands in the air. That is when the officers opened fire. Middleton said, “It was like a firing squad. Bullets were flying everywhere.”
He was shot in the leg, shattering the bones in his thigh and will require a metal rod to be inserted to repair the damage, but the hospital listed him in “good condition” on Monday. “I’m just glad they didn’t hit me here or here,” Middleton said while pointing to his head and chest. “My mother’s car is full of bullet holes though. My wife had to go and get a rental.” His family has reportedly found 17 shell casings in the carport, and his mother’s Lincoln Town Car is riddled with bullet holes.
Both of the deputies involved have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure whenever a shooting occurs, and the incident is being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
A witness said she never saw Middleton do anything to provoke the deputies. “He wasn’t belligerent or anything,” she told reporters.
Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan held a press conference on Monday. He said the deputies version of the story was a bit different than Middleton’s:
The deputies reported that, after they’d made multiple commands to Middleton to show his hands, he eventually lunged out of the car and spun toward them, causing them to “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.”
Middleton said he still doesn’t understand what could have caused the incident to “escalate so quickly,” and that the deputies never offered any kind of an explanation an apology. He said, “Even if they thought the car was stolen, all they had to do was run the license plate. They would have seen that that car belonged there.”