Details Emerge In Deputy Involved Shooting Of Unarmed Man

July 30, 2013

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan released more details Monday about an unarmed man shot at his own home by two deputies early Saturday morning.

Roy Howard Middleton, 60, said he was searching for a cigarette in his mother’s car when deputies approached.

The deputies had answered a theft in progress call about 2:40 a.m., according to Morgan, on Shadow Lawn Lane. A caller had reported that a subject was attempting to steal a white car parked in the driveway of the residence.  Just before deputies arrived, the caller reported to a 911 dispatcher that the subject was still inside the vehicle. The deputies arrived, parked a few houses away, and approached on foot.

The deputies ordered Middleton to get out of the Lincoln Town Car and put his hands up, but they say he was not compliant. At one point, he started to get out of the car, but then got back in and reached toward the center console. Then Middleton exited the car very quickly with a lunging motion with one hand raised with something metallic in it, Morgan said. Sgt. Matthew White and Deputy Jeremiah Meeks then fired 15 rounds, hitting Middleton in the leg. Morgan said the deputies feared for their safety. He attributed the number of shots fired to “officer anxiety”.

“There’s numerous commands going throughout this incident,” Morgan said. “You’ve got to remember, everybody’s ramped at this point.”

The first shots were fired by Meeks, the sheriff said. He said White was to the right of Meeks and unable to determine if Middleton was firing, so White also fired in the suspect’s direction as backup.

A third officer on the scene, Wayne Wright, was still walking toward the driveway when the gunfire began. “Sergeant White was slightly ahead of me, and as I got closer to the residence I observed Deputy Meeks near the end of the driveway,” Wright wrote in an incident report. “I then heard verbal commands being shouted to have the subject get out of the vehicle and show his hands. Deputy Meeks and Sergeant White then both fired their weapons.”

“If we rolled on the scene and Mr. Middleton had been compliant and Mr. Middleton had followed all directions of the law enforcement officers, I can give you with a 99.9 percent of assurance that this shooting would not have occurred. But when an individual, a suspect, or victim in this case, is not compliant, then the officers react to that,” Morgan said. “We are not in control of that. The individual we are approaching is in control of that.”

Middleton and his family tell a different story.  Middleton said he at first thought the flashlights were those of his neighbors playing a trick on him. He said he followed the orders given by deputies and raised his hands, holding his car keys with metal flashlight. When he turned to face the deputies, they opened fire.

Meeks has been with the Sheriff’s Office for two years; White has served for 15 years. Both are on paid administrative leave, as is standard procedure in officer involved shootings.

The shooting is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney’s Office.


47 Responses to “Details Emerge In Deputy Involved Shooting Of Unarmed Man”

  1. abovethelaw on August 1st, 2013 8:25 pm

    Don’t think this is a race issue, got in some trouble not to long ago. I was stopped for DUI, everything went well till I was in cuffs then they started to taunt me. I was drinking deserved thed DUI but they added three charges of threat on law enforcement which are felonies. But no kind of charges for resisting if that don’t make you ask questions I don’t know what will.The law enforcement don’t need to judge so quickly and act like professionals. I believe these cops should be charged with something. And by the way I’m white

  2. DO YOU KNOW IT ALL? on August 1st, 2013 4:03 pm

    Unless you are law enforcement you have clue of what they go through on a daily basis to protect all of you making these comments? You do not know their procedures. The man is lucky he got hit in the leg because officers are taught to shoot center mass, which means the chest area. All of you making comments need to put yourself in the officers shoes. How many of you would be an officer. How much would you have to get paid to put your life on the line everyday when their are criminals willing to kill you at the drop of a hat. What would you do if you were trying to arrest someone who just stabbed and killed another person and they are fighting to get away. He certainly does not want to go to jail or prison so they will do anything to get away. Imagine wearing 40 pounds of equipment in this heat and chasing someone who just stole your stuff. WALK A MILE PEOPLE then make your comments.

  3. Really Tired on August 1st, 2013 8:56 am

    I totally agree with Karen and Lawman are you serious. so the officers were responding to a call of someone trying to steal a vehicle but park two houses down the street. Really, if this person is trying to steal the car and you are responding to the call doesn’t it make more sense to pull up behind the car ALLEGEDLY being stolen and block the car and person in. Officers shouting, its 230 am if someone walk up behind you in the dark shouting “get out the car” natural instinct may cross your mind that someone is trying to rob you especially since you are in your car and your yard. Seems that I remember an article in the past regarding someone impersonating a cop so you ASSUME he knew its was an officer in the dark that park two houses down the street. GUESS HE GOT OUT THE CAR WITH THE KEYS IN HIS HAND BECAUSE THE KEYS ARE HOW HE GOT IN THE CAR. HINT HINT ITS MY CAR!!!!!
    Its funny Escambia county law enforcement will pull up behind you in a convenience store parking lot, block you in a space and shine a light when all you are doing is sitting eating some chips (but that also makes you a suspect) but they go to a call and park down the street makes you say hhmmm.
    Another instance, just to pull skin color out of it as Cantonment stated, one homeless dude (caucasian) sitting under the overpass on Davis Hwy with 5 law enforcement vehicles. they are just out of hand point blank.

  4. Karen on July 31st, 2013 7:25 pm

    First off to all you negative people….It doesn’t matter what this man has ever done in his life time. This man was at his home in his yard in his car with his flashlight and his keys….minding his own business not causing a disturbance not hurting anyone……First the way law enforcement approached was not very professional and put everybody in danger including theirselves they should have drove up and spotlighted him and told him to put his hands up I voted for Morgan the first time and not the last time and never again we have more trigger happy cops than ever in our history more uncalled for shootings that just don’t make sense and every time found justifiable they use excessive force they are rude and think are invinciable and never have I ever said this about our law enforcement they treat you like you are a criminal right off the bat and I don’t say this from experience I say this from news reports and things I have seen with my own eyes this was uncalled for and God must have wanted this man alive cause it’s a miracle they didn’t kill him an innocent man in his own yard and if you go back and read the original story there was a teen neighbor that said the man did nothing to arouse the officers he did what they told him to do and they opened fire on him it’s obvious that they were rookies heck they fired 15 rounds and hit him once……who unloads 15 rounds on a human life within 2 minutes of walking up their driveway…..And our sheriff defends and more or less says its okay for them to act like that well I don’t want a sheriff like that running my city that could have been one of our children in their own yard minding their own business whose child will it be next?

  5. erica on July 31st, 2013 6:30 pm

    @ here we go again
    I looked and he has only one assault charge from 20 years ago the other roy middleton is the one u are looking at that was born in 1970 and in prison for capital murder! so make sure u are looking at the right name before u post false info!


  6. David Huie Green on July 31st, 2013 4:37 pm

    It is sad the vehicles which our LOST taxes paid for were not close enough to record the interaction and remove all doubt as to exactly what happened through the dash camera recordings.

    It may have protected the vehicle from stray bullets but might actually help protect officers physically and legally if placed at the scene. (Assuming they did nothing wrong, of course.)

    David for 360 degree cameras
    and recorders in untamperable locations

  7. facts on July 31st, 2013 9:14 am

    @herewegoagain If you did your research as you said you did you would have seen the last line on the clerk’s site was “NOLLE PROSEQUI FILED INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE ” So next time read everything. Someone can be charged with something and not be convicted.

    As for this. I don’t know who is right or who is wrong as we were not there. I know LEO’s have a job to do and they have a right to go home to their families at night after babysitting our county. As for Mr Middleton, I hope he heals quickly and if this was an unjust shooting then may he own have the agency.

  8. bud on July 31st, 2013 8:58 am

    If he had his head in the car ,possibly a little hard of hearing ,a newer car with a quieter ride , who is to say he even heard them ,why not just sit in the patrol car and hit him with the spotlight ,use the PA ,if he runs he is a thief ,or just walk up and shoot for what?Really sounds like the officers have a little ptsd . Need to make sure the officers around here get some counseling if they are troubled about the crap they deal with every day.Not every body around here is a scumbag.

  9. paul on July 31st, 2013 12:22 am

    I voted for morgan the first time around.. The second time I didn’t vote for either one running.. Next time I’ll vote for anybody running against him.. There’s NO supervision and I really don’t like how this is going down.. I don’t believe it was a race issue.. It was just trigger happy scared cops.. I’m surprised they didn’t shoot each other while they were at it..

  10. matt on July 30th, 2013 8:18 pm

    what they really wanted him to do is dance like the Wild Wild West

  11. lawman on July 30th, 2013 7:00 pm

    If the police are behind you screaming let me see your hands. Why would you jump back into car and come out with ANYTHING IN YOUR HANDS. Especially when you know they have their guns drawn down on you.

  12. Who Cares on July 30th, 2013 4:46 pm

    Who cares, do what the police tell you to do instaed of arguing, and accusing the police of profiling you, and you probally won’t get shot.

  13. Rob H on July 30th, 2013 4:39 pm

    So if I understand this correctly, you all are saying that when 911 receives a call of a crime in progress that the deputies should arrive, but not act until the owner is identified and permission is granted. At that time, assuming the criminal is still there, you wont the deputies to stand by and wait for someone to obey their commands and hope the person eventually does. However, if the person finally comes from inside a car in an aggressive manner, the deputies should have to wait to see if it is indeed a weapon? Should we ask them to request the serial # from the suspect too? You know bc if it is registered we should ask the deputies to politely ask the person to stop firing and to talk about it.

    Oh Yeah, why dont we ask the deputies to take a pay cut too?

    Its easy to second guess days later. Its easy for news sources to find the most well dressed pic and post it. Bottom line is if the man would have listened for a minute it could have been resolved peacefully.

  14. Rob H on July 30th, 2013 4:32 pm

    Now we wanna sue the 911 caller? Cmon.

    Reminds me of a comedy skit I saw once where the litigation world turned into
    everyone vs everyone court trial … PS everyone lost!

    Quit trying to look for someone to sue and make a quick dollar. Listen to police. Ive never been shot and I guarantee Ive been pulled over more than most of you combined in my 37 yrs.

  15. Me on July 30th, 2013 4:13 pm

    What about consequences for the 911 caller? That person is overall the one responsible for the officers showing up to the residence. At what point are they liable for something that happens as a direct result of their actions? Is there any kind of civil action for the victim against the complainant?

  16. Iceman on July 30th, 2013 3:44 pm

    “You Miss”, Couldn’t have said it any better! I do not understand why anyone would think these circumstances are ok, on his own property..

  17. Iceman on July 30th, 2013 3:42 pm

    “You Miss”

  18. jeeperman on July 30th, 2013 3:33 pm

    You all do realize we are only reading one side of what happened.
    A massaged and edited version of what happened from one side.
    And with the squad dash cams too far away, it will be the green version versus the black version.

  19. you miss the point on July 30th, 2013 2:35 pm

    The point is an unarmed man was shot in his own yard minding his own business.

  20. Lawless on July 30th, 2013 1:54 pm

    You can bet if the officer is always at fought, before the facts are out, by these criminal lawyers on the blog. Then it comes to the old saying, you can bet the first one to scream the loudest more then likely have been on the wrong side of the law.

  21. Bama Babe on July 30th, 2013 1:12 pm

    So tired of the race card… What about earlier this month when a white guy was shot and killed by black officers…. now what!!!!! Give it a rest !!!! Police officers are someone’s child and want to go home to their family as well. They have to react in a split second…. when someone is non-compliant and won’t show their hands, officers have to protect themselves. If citizens would respect law enforcement more and listen to their direction, situations like this wouldn’t happen.

  22. fsugrad on July 30th, 2013 12:42 pm

    So lets see, the deputies advised the subject to come out with his hands up, the guy reaches into the car then comes out and lunges toward you with an object in his hands. Let me ask are you brave enough to stand there and think i wonder if thats a gun in his hand and get shot at? The deputies made a quick snap decision, obseved a possible treat and dealt with it. Guns come in all different shapes and sizes if he came out with a metallic object it probably looks like it could be a gun. As for 15 rounds thats probably 8 by one and 7 by the other and like they emptied mags or anything.

  23. woerner on July 30th, 2013 12:06 pm

    A wealthy man will soon be discharged from the hospital.

  24. jarhead2311 on July 30th, 2013 12:00 pm

    This is amazing to me. Whomever it was that provided false information about this gentleman’s criminal history, you obviously don’t know how to read. As the other person pointed out, the criminal history is with a jr., which is probably this victim’s son. Secondly, people of color and ethnicity in this country are getting sick and tired of people defending law enforcement officers when they make a bad judgment call. It was this man’s God given right to be in his mother’s car, in his mother’s driveway, to look for whatever he wanted too in that car. The problem is with a neighbor who obviously doesn’t recognize his fellow neighbor, (probably because all black people look alike, right?) calling in and reporting a false crime. These officers were deemed by our esteemed sheriff to have “police anxiety?” I have never heard of this. I guess police anxiety exempts you from any wrong doing and exhonorates you from any malice. Give me a break. You had one officer who has only had 2 years on the force and the other, (who was the “senior officer”) had 15 years both open fire. Did anyone think to maybe taser the victim if they weren’t sure he had an actual weapon? Which he did not. People need to wake up and smell the roses here.

    Land of the free and home of the brave my behind. We live in a society today where we have over zealous and undereducated police officers that are trigger happy. These officers need more education, more critical thinking courses, and more psychological evaluations before they are licensed and badged to kill someone. I don’t want to walk out of Walmart and go to my car to get my check book and be gunned down by an officer with “officer anxiety” only to have my family bury me and get offered an extreme apology. By the way, I am black and I don’t have a police record and have never been arrested. However, I am fearful that this carries no merit in Escambia County! Sad but true!

  25. taxpayer on July 30th, 2013 11:53 am

    Question. Does the stand your ground law apply to protecting yourself from unprovoked attcks from law enforcement? What would of happend if he had returned fire and say killed one of the officers?

  26. herewegoagain! on July 30th, 2013 11:36 am

    @ct06855, Before calling someone else out on a rant, you may want to carefully check your information as I did so as not to make yourself look like an idiot. Yes, his son does have charges and a mug shot, but there are also charged on SR., mugshot included! Check the clerk of the courts website as well as Escambia County Jail view for released inmates and you will find both! The sr’s is for cocaine possession!

  27. Pat on July 30th, 2013 11:04 am


  28. Cantonment on July 30th, 2013 10:40 am

    oh goody, something else for people to get upset over because of the color of peoples skin! there’s a couple doozies in this one, the neighbor called the police…why do they not know who their own neighbor is in his car? the police did nothing wrong. they were informed of a robbery, he was non compliant, his family WASN’T outside so they have NO BUSINESS telling the story of what “really happened”, and for the ones complaining about so many shots fired and him only being hit in the leg, do you REALLY want to deal with the news coverage for the next 2 years if they had shot and killed him in one shot? I know I don’t. Well Done Officers, keep doing your jobs.

  29. Darko Sladovic on July 30th, 2013 10:37 am

    15 ROUNDS and you only hit him in the leg? YOU should be let go for being a bad shot! We need deputies who can shoot straight. There were rounds in the walls the car–did you close your eyes when you pulled the trigger trying to recreatre some Jerry Miculek stunt?

  30. Rebel L. Howard on July 30th, 2013 10:21 am

    As always, even in YOUR OWN PROPERTY…YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS!! I’m continually angered at officials for assuming everything and knowing NOTHING!!!! Americans, these are the rights our soldiers die for!!! It’s time to stand up. My father survived Vietnam, 2 purple hearts , 2 bronze stars, and 1 silver star. He did this for us, for OUR FREEDOM….let’s GET IT BACK, before it’s too late.

  31. Doug Masters on July 30th, 2013 10:19 am

    I see the Monday morning quarterbacking has begun. If any of you were there and saw this happen, then you are a witness and have a right to say something. If any of you were not there, you have no knowledge of how it happened and need to shut up. It was a bad situation all the way. Glad everyone came out alive.

  32. CD on July 30th, 2013 10:17 am

    Sounds as if our officers need more, extensive firearms training. Not just standing in a line and shooting at paper targets. They need training in shooting from all positions and shooting with the off hand. They need a military type training. But they also need training to know when NOT to shoot.

  33. molino jim on July 30th, 2013 10:11 am

    One other comment. Ask some of the LEO’s who live in this area how it feels to be shot or to see a fellow LEO shot. The feeling never goes away and is on their minds on any call. The other part is to ask an officers how it feels to have shot some one. It is not fun and games.

  34. ct06855 on July 30th, 2013 10:10 am

    @herewegoagain, did you bother to look at the details of the mugshot? Based on your comment the answer is no. If you bothered with the detail you would have read the age of the person in the mugshot. I would suspect that the criminal is this man’s son, considering it says Jr! You were quick to diseminate inaccuarate information just so you could rant!

  35. Name (required) on July 30th, 2013 9:09 am

    First, if you fire on a threat you are supposed to neutralize the threat. This is not Hollywood, you don’t shoo the gun out of someone’s hand…. Unless you were there, or have ever been in a position to fire in a defense scenario you have no idea how hard it is. It is not like playing video games, where you have a clear view, or even know if you hit the shooter.

    Yes, I called him a shooter. He was unarmed, but from the description he did not act like one. Reminder: the deputies are out there risking their lives for US…. They had no way to know what the object was the man had… If they had guessed wrong and not fired this story might read that they had been killed.

    These men were responding to a dangerous situation and made the best judgment they could based on the available information. When a suspect acts in an unpredictable manner, the outcome is unpredictable.

    If a sworn officer of the law gives you and instruction, you follow it. You don’t reach for an object and lunge. I you do, you can not expect for them to wait around to see if you get the first shots in before they return fire… They may not be able to if they wait that long.

    These deputies were out there to serve and protect all of us. They deserve respect and the benefit of the doubt,

  36. herewegoagain! on July 30th, 2013 9:02 am

    Here we go again! Why are you putting up a picture of him in a suit and tie? Why not out one of the mugshots fro the multiple drug and battery arrests tha he’s had? Oh morning, I know why! It’s all about perception!

  37. molino jim on July 30th, 2013 8:56 am

    Sure is easy to be an expert on firearms for some people. Try thinking this out. 2 a/m told to get out of the car–subject does– then re-enters the car–comes back out with some thing shiny in his hand–what would all of you experts do? Court records show that the subject has a record, so he should know not to play games, but just do what he’s told to do. Some people watch so much TV and think only one shot is needed, that not the case.

  38. Bob on July 30th, 2013 7:57 am

    Sounds like the old ways in the new days. Shoot first then ask questions. These officers didn’t have flash lights bright enough to lite up the suspect before shooting at him? Is the officers not trained to control themselves in stressfull events? Are the officers not trained and certified for use of weapons? These officers aren’t trained not to discharge there weapons into a occupied home? Where’s the K9 to send in and hold the suspect? Sounds like Barney’s in charge to me.

  39. Sam on July 30th, 2013 7:27 am

    Just look at the facts. 2:40 a m? Someone called 911 and reported a theft, gave the address, and description of the car. That would tell the police to be alerted for trouble. He WAS given instructions to follow. They did identify themselves. If i am in the car you can bet i am gonna do exactly what i am told. The only question here is, did mr middleton? If he did they over reacted. If he didnt he made a big mistake.

  40. Not rocket science on July 30th, 2013 7:10 am

    Unless the officers were speaking a foreign language, the man knew what was going on. Very tragic event… when the police are yelling instructions, it’s best to follow them. I’d be shocked if alcohol wasn’t involved.

  41. John on July 30th, 2013 6:55 am

    I seen the footage on tv.Over a dozen rounds fired.Hitting the car at several points.I believe its time to go to the range and practice some more.At what point do you stop shooting ,and say hey,this guy isn’t armed.I guess it’s becoming common practice to empty your clip first.If they die ,they can’t fight the issue with the sheriffs office.All in the line of duty I guess.No matter the situation,they are within their rights to use deadly force.It’s one way to get a paid vacation.
    The claim that the family would lie to save their son.alrighty then.Deputies are just people too,they are not beyond doing the same.I respect what they do,but putting them on a pedestal,just isn’t a fix for poor judgement.It may be your child next.but I guess that would be a different situation,because they wouldn’t lie.

  42. baebae on July 30th, 2013 6:30 am

    AMEN…well said there BAMA boy….wonder if both officers were white ??

  43. cpgone on July 30th, 2013 6:28 am

    “looked like he was going to lunge at them”
    So how far away were they ?
    The car was never started?
    Yeah , I wasn’t there , neither were you ,
    A dozen rounds? Too much force no matter how you look at it.

  44. Wait on July 30th, 2013 6:23 am

    Why don’t we wait and get the whole story and all the information before we bring race into the situation. The news media is bad enough doing that.

  45. Bama Boy on July 30th, 2013 5:38 am

    This country has past a tipping point. This country will never get past the race issue due to situations like this. The family will lie for their son to ensure that the deputies are found in a quilty light. I deal with people day to day and when told to do something they naturally argue and want to do it their way. Until people learn to respect God and His authority they will never respect anybody elses authority.

  46. briarroot on July 30th, 2013 4:24 am

    Over a dozen rounds fired … and they hit … his leg?

  47. eeyore on July 30th, 2013 4:13 am

    …pretty much tells me that the county still has not advanced much since before the equal rights movement…

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