Grand Jury: No Charges Against Deputies In Two Shootings

October 16, 2013

An Escambia County Grand Jury has completed its review of the shooting death of James W. McGlothlin and the wounding of Roy Middleton. Both of the shootings involved Escambia County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

The grand jury met over a three-day period  and heard evidence from numerous witnesses including special agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, deputies from Escambia County Sheriffs Office and civilian witnesses. Based the testimony and other evidence,  the grand jury found insufficient evidence to establish that any criminal violations were committed.

Grand Jury Recommendations

The grand jury did return a report making five recommendations  to the Sheriffs Office regarding training and procedures.

Those recommendations, reprinted verbatim,  included:

1. That the Escambia County Sheriff’ s Office establish more focused and intensive training for the  first four years of a law enforcement officer’s career.

2. That greater mentoring be encouraged between junior and senior officers.

3. That the situations presented in both these cases be recreated for training purposes for use in the force on force room. These scenarios should be prepared with  various outcomes.

4. In the case involving the death of McGlothlin, we realize that the  ofñcers acted in a manner necessary under the circumstances. We do find,  however, that these circumstances led to poor decisions. While we understand that the SWAT team was not available under these particular circumstances, we believe that other technological abilities should be available to deal with similar  circumstances.

5. In cases where medical care becomes necessary, we believe  that both blood or urine samples should be available for additional testing by law enforcement. Procedures should be established that provide that appropriate subpoenas or court orders are available to either obtain or retain such samples for additional testing.

Sheriff Morgan’s Response

“We are constantly striving to improve the quality of service we provide, and to enhance the safety and security of those who live and Work in Escambia County,” Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan responded in a letter to State Attorney Bill Eddins. “To that end, we will carefully consider the recommendations of the Grand Jury. We will incorporate the  Grand Jury recommendations into our policies, procedures, and training plans as  appropriate within the constraints of the law and funding.”

Roy Middleton Shooting

In July, an unarmed Roy Middleton was searching for a cigarette in his mother’s car when he was shot by deputies that had responded to a theft in progress call. Escambia County Sheriff’s David Morgan was Middleton was not compliant with his officers’ orders to get out of the car and put his hands up. Instead, the sheriff said, Middleton exited the car quickly with a lunging motion with one hand raised with something in it. Deputies then fired 15 rounds at Middleton. Morgan attributed the number of shots to “officer anxiety”.

Middleton and his family told 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.

The incident has received national media attention.

James Wyman McGlothin Shooting Death

James Wyman McGlothin was shot and killed by an Escambia County Deputy in early July at the Lago Vista Apartments in the 400 block of  South 72nd Avenue.

McGlothlin was reportedly driving a small red Honda vehicle when he ran off the road and became stuck in a flooded ditch off 72nd Avenue. He then ran into the apartment complex where a K-9 tracked him to a shed. Area residents reported hearing dozens of gunshots as deputies entered the shed.

According to a list released by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, McGlothlin was responsible for a long list of crimes in the area between June 21 and his death on July 5 including grand theft, vehicle theft, aggravated battery and the robbery of at least two businesses.


31 Responses to “Grand Jury: No Charges Against Deputies In Two Shootings”

  1. perdido fisherman on October 20th, 2013 8:29 pm

    When it comes to mistakes or negligence cops are like doctors, they will lie and cover up for each other. I have seen it first hand with both. I worked federal LE before studying medicine. Not all are like this but in this county i say most are good ol’boy cops.

  2. Ben on October 17th, 2013 9:31 pm

    While I think the investigation was warranted in these cases, let me say this…

    I believe if I called 911 about an armed intruder breaking into my house, most deputies would bust their butts trying to get there and save me.

  3. Chief says..... on October 17th, 2013 5:23 pm

    I don’t blame the deputies in this case. FDLE didn’t blame the deputies. The deputies were only responding in the manner in which their leadership has trained them to respond to these types of crisis situations.

    The blame falls squarely on the shoulders of Sheriff Morgan, just as the blame for the jail being mismanaged to the point that an outside agency had to step in and tell him to fix it or else.

    When a ship runs aground, the captain is at fault. It does not matter in the captain is standing on the bridge manning the conn or sound asleep in his cabin, it is still the captain’s responsibility because he was responsible for training and qualifying the crew members under his charge.

    Well the way I see it, the ship has run aground again and Sheriff Morgan is to blame whether he accepts responsibility or not.

    Question is….. How many more times are we going to let the ship run aground with Captain Morgan at the helm?

  4. CW on October 17th, 2013 2:13 pm

    I have an idea. Don’t be so high on drugs or drunk off your butt that you don’t realize what your doing.

    Great post AC. I agree, it’s the citizens who need the training. I was once stopped by three deputies with their guns drawn. I did exactly what they said. After they identified me they appologized, explained why they reacted the way they did and let me go. NO SHOTS FIRED!!! It seems I fit the description of someone that had just robbed a convience store.

  5. pj on October 17th, 2013 1:56 pm

    Poor, poor scared and confused cops. Soooo anxiety ridden and stressed out from driving over the speed limit as often as they WANT that they have to shoot first because they know that there are scum bags everywhere out to get them. Wrong is wrong, no matter if your shooting an unarmed man (repeatedly) or going to a call from one of your friends, taking that side regardless of facts and them wonder why the average citizen does not trust the cops or the legal system. For the record, I know better than to call 911 for anything but an ambulance. One more thought—I was told many years ago not to count on a cop unless I’m getting a ticket or to watch them do what they do best. Clean up, not prevent. The only arguments here are from cops/judges defending DEATH by COP. Get a real job if you don’t like that regular citizens have no respect for the SYSTEM.

  6. deBugger on October 17th, 2013 10:19 am

    LEO – if you really ARE, that is—

    your response is typical of the shoot from the hip take no prisoners we are THE LAW, they’re just the public attitude that WE, THE PEOPLE, are attempting to REIGN IN, lest you shoot more citizens & take more innocent lives, eh?

    I live so far out in the “boonies” of the county that THE SHERIFF’s Deparment is the LAST call I make, dig? Dag-nabbit, now I’m almost spittin’ mad again, and I thought I had it under control!!

    YOU are NOT the LAW, son.

  7. LEO on October 17th, 2013 9:56 am

    To all the law enforcement officers and families of these officers. We know what goes on in Pensacola. Keep doing your jobs and stay safe. To all of the negative poster or may I say Monday morning clueless quarterbacks. Continue to live in your imaginary cardboard box and believe Pensacola is filled with cheerful law abiding citizen who follows the law. If these quarterbacks want to really know what going on just go fill out a ride a long package and ride with these deputies and police officers for a week. Make sure you ride with all three working shifts to get the full experience of what goes on. We will just see how they feel after that. And for the clueless ” wow” comment. If you have a death wish or ready to commit suicide by cop just be foolish and try that. Btw if you continue to follow up on this matter, FDLE lab results had found cocaine in middletons system. He also admitted to smoking it. I guess being high on cocaine or coming off of it would cause you to be rummaging around in a car at 3am looking for a “loose cigarette”. More like trying to find a crack rock among all of the junk in the center console.

  8. Retired on October 17th, 2013 9:51 am

    @Rebel Howard.

    Let’s start by saying I’m retired LEO and have seen my share of stuff. Rebel you gotta live in a bubble. Have you have ever “thought” some one was pointing a gun at you? Would you have great sight picture? Would you have excellent trigger control? Would you also wait and see if each bullet was making impact on your target and would you continue firing until the threat was eliminated? On top of all the above toss in lighting, some one not listening to commands and moving quickly. Now let’s put in he’s lunging pointing a metal object at you. Now your heart rate went From 110 to 180 plus. You’ve just received the an adrenaline dump that a sky diver gets from falling 20000 feet.

    The suspect has just ensinuted a weapon draw and firing. Now you’ve decided to fire your weapon because you are “in fear of your life”! Now are you sure that was a gun? You can’t wait because in a gun battle the one who finishs last looses period. Now all the thoughts of your family and friends runs threw your mind. Ok so now you’ve decided to start shooting but the suspect isn’t going down, he’s still up, what do you do? We’ll you keep shooting but still nothing and then finally he drops. It took a 12 bullets but you never counted, you just fire till he’s down. Why did it take so many bullets? We’ll my target was moving and dodging and acting like some was shooting at him, I’ve never had anything living stand still for my shots, I’m just saying. A lot of people say “more training more training!”. We’ll moving target training is something no agency gets unless you’ve got active duty training.

    Ok so I read the FDLE report which shows cocaine and other medication in Middletons blood, maybe that was a reason for his irraticte behavior.

    Ok the next case with Mcglothren. He had a gun and pointed it at Deputies. It was suicide by cop which is common, go google it. Rebel you dont bring a tazer to a gun fight. The ECSO does use tazers all the time but those reports don’t get media attention. I challenge you rebel to get off your Monday-morning quarterback couch and apply to do a ride a long. Go ride in Browns ville or shanny town.

  9. Un believable on October 17th, 2013 9:19 am

    This is unbelievable if the shoe was on the other foot these two people wouldn’t see the light of day for a long time . More trainning needed but then one was a vet law officer what can you say!!!!

  10. MM on October 17th, 2013 8:44 am

    Split second decision? Scum of society? So in a split second those officers let out 17 shots at Roy Middleton? U are now scum if u go looking in ur own vehicle under ur own carport at any time of day? I have respect for all of our LEOs but come on, have the decency to admit that they screwed up! Mcglothlin was a criminal on the run I believe those officers did what they had to do but don’t lump him and Middleton together and try to justify what they did to him! It was wrong, admit it or u Shut Up!

  11. lions bite on October 17th, 2013 8:28 am

    Leo Supporter – ive never had a sack of apples open fire at me when I approached them with my hands raised or didn’t immediately comply with an order they have issued. I’m pretty sure Roy Middleton would agree that the comparison is a little inaccurate. :/

  12. AC on October 17th, 2013 7:29 am

    Maybe we need training for citizens instead. Like, for example: When you are confronted by law enforcement, don’t LUNGE at them! Especially if you have something in your hand(s). YOU may feel they have no reason to approach you, but YOU may be wrong. While you may not be committing a crime, your actions may raise reasonable suspicions in their minds(or your neighbor’s mind as in the case of Middleton); and they have a sworn DUTY to investigate that suspicion. Remember these people aren’t mindreaders. You may know that this is YOUR car you are rummaging around in, or YOUR window that you are crawling through because you lost your keys, but THEY do not. Instead of becoming angry when they approach you, just take a few minutes to show who you are and keep in mind that they are on high alert as their training has taught them to be. But you should not LUNGE at them and then have the audacity to be outraged when they shoot you. Yes we DO pay their salary (in a roundabout way), and we provide them with a gun. They carry that gun for a reason.

  13. Rebel L. Howard on October 17th, 2013 6:50 am

    I must agree, its way past time to do something about the good ole boys of escambia county. Instead of complaining about them, we need to band together as a people and take the jobs others could do properly. I agree the cop was probably scared, but firing that amount of rounds at a citizen in the dark as he “lunged” from his car, flashlight in hand, is unacceptable and he should no longer have a job. As should none of the others that killed the unarmed man! Clearly, tazers are not being utilized, and I KNOW they are taught to use them
    But as I said before, the time has come for the people if this county to change it! I hope William will cover those stories as well….

  14. 429SCJ on October 17th, 2013 5:42 am


    “The living know they shall die, the dead know nothing”

    “Before all else, be armed”.

  15. Brooke on October 17th, 2013 5:38 am

    Cops don’t get paid enough to deal with this crap every day.

    Let the families sue. If a grand jury didn’t find sufficient evidence to charge them, do the families really believe they’ll get anywhere with a civil lawsuit?

  16. bewildered on October 17th, 2013 4:47 am

    Wow! I am amazed at all the negative comments. I dare you to come out of your safe environment and walk or drive through the streets of West Pensacola and other neighborhoods at 3 a.m. in the morning. You will get an immediate attitude adjustment regarding the manner how officers respond to burglary calls, shootings, etc.

  17. LEO Supporter on October 17th, 2013 4:28 am

    I rarely post comments on these news stories, but I will say, undoubtedly, that I support our LEO’s. To quote “LEO”, “for those who bash us, don’t call us when you need help take care of it yourself.” I agree whole-heartedly! One of my favorite quotes of all times: “Your opinion to not believe in God or to not carry a gun is your choice. But what’s the first thing that happens when there’s trouble? You call someone with a gun and pray to God they get there in time.”

    I ask those who are bashing the decisions made by the LEO’s; have you ever been in that situation? Do you know without a doubt, 100%, that you would “make the right decision”? I certainly don’t think so.

    I may not agree with how some situations turn out, such as people ending up dead, or injured, but I’m thankful that I have the option of calling a LEO when I’m in a time of need. Sure, there are bad apples that ruin it for the rest, but tell me where you can find an entire barrel of “clean” apples??

  18. Deputy Did Right on October 17th, 2013 12:24 am

    “WOW!! looks like people will have to protect themselves against some of these so called cops the same way we protect ourselves from criminals. I will there is no doubt.”

    What a comment!! Not too swift! LOL, do so and you’ll dance with the Reaper!

  19. WOW on October 16th, 2013 11:13 pm

    WOW!! looks like people will have to protect themselves against some of these so called cops the same way we protect ourselves from criminals. I will there is no doubt.

  20. Bobby on October 16th, 2013 10:25 pm

    Hopefully the deputies won’t read the ignorant comments here and decide next time to hesitate before pulling the trigger when someone provokes them with a flashlight at night. Except next time it may be a gun and the deputy is dead because he was too afraid of shooting an unarmed man. If that deputy was in fear for his life due to a foolish and arrogant action on another’s part, then he was justified in shooting him. This is not a perfect world and I’m sure the deputy wishes things hadn’t have turned out like they did. But, he had a split second decision to make and nothing he did was criminal. If these deputies just went around looking for reasons to shoot people I assure you there would be a lot more low life’s dead in Escambia County. It was a bad situation all around. It’s very easy to Monday morning quarterback though.

  21. LEO on October 16th, 2013 10:17 pm

    It kills me how everyone wants to blame the deputies. But we are the 1st ones you call when you are in trouble. Until you walk in our shoes…SHUT UP!!!! until you deal with the scum of our society shut up..How many of you deal with life and death almost everyday? We have to make split second decisions on life and death. I will tell you i will go home at the end of my shift. And 2 other things , im sure some of you will say we pay your salaries. Well deputies to pay taxes..And we haven’t had a pay raise in almost 8yrs. 2… He without sin cast the first stone . remember we are human too, we have family also. for those who support us thank you. for those who bash us, don’t call us when you need help take care of it yourself.

  22. kevin enfinger on October 16th, 2013 10:01 pm

    i see so many times people get on here and complain about issues like this and im in agreeance they shouldnt have gotten off. But instead of getting on here and complaining, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!! our tax dolalrs pay the salaries of the court judges and its up to us as citizens and tax payers to speak up. DO IT!!!

  23. Facetious Bob on October 16th, 2013 8:55 pm

    Then come the naysayers. They don’t want to be on a jury of no kind., and will lie to get off. Some of them can not even qualify for jury duty, for obvious, and legal reasons…but they will Monday morning quarterback any decision they do not agree with. Oh, did they have other information, or evidence, that could have been presented to have changed the outcome of the decision?

  24. Morgan's wild, wild West on October 16th, 2013 6:56 pm

    No criminal charges? Are you kidding me? I guess citizens are no longer safe(from law enforcement) rummaging through their own vehicle, on their own property after dark.

    Bet Civil Court proceedings will have a far different outcome…. And we the tax paying citizens will bear the fiscal responsibility for these deputies lack of adequate training.

    And in a few months Sheriff Morgan will be crying to the County claiming he needs more money to train his officers.

  25. Ben on October 16th, 2013 5:49 pm

    When are people going to learn? You just can’t lunge at deputies.

  26. perdido fisherman on October 16th, 2013 5:34 pm

    What a joke, especially in mr. middleton’s case. This has been a problem in our county for a long time. A lot of the officers here have an attitude that they are untouchable

  27. Paull j Nowlin on October 16th, 2013 4:22 pm

    Its a shame that I had to put my name out here, I’ve had my share of the “Law Enforcement Community” and how it works, both family and acquaintances. How many of these self important people abuse their station? From road laws, to DUI’s and more that between “The Brotherhood” they never have to pay for any crime until the media brings it to the for front or that the offences have happened so often that it can no longer be swept under the carpet.
    I am not friends with any law officer because I believe that if you use you station to get out of a speeding ticket (85+ in a 55) is breaking not only the law but the confidence provided by the public and position. I know this and many other things that OUR officers do or have done which would land JOE PUBLIC in court and or jail.
    I’ve seen this happen and have listened to officers brag that they had gotten away with offences that would have landed me in jail at least for ONE night. We all know what I say is true. So, trust the LAW or “GRAND JURY” and see where that will get you the next time you get pulled over for doing 85 in a 55 with out a badge to flash. I bet that James and Roy didn’t have a badge.

  28. deBugger on October 16th, 2013 4:20 pm

    Middleton case isn’t over. I would expect a LARGE civil lawsuit to be in the offing. We’ve known for years now that these local “shields” are prone to be a little trigger happy.

    Was McGlothin armed with ANYthing? Or did the “New Centurions” just follow him to the shed and pop off on first instinct?

    When WAS the last time a cop involved in a shooting in this area was referred to The System for further action?

    If this comment is moderated onto the board, I expect the outburst of Law & Order Advocates’ rabid remarks. ;-)

  29. Black Panther on October 16th, 2013 1:52 pm

    Total garbage. Those two deputies need to be fired and have have their POST ccertification s revoked.

    The sheriff in this town acts without consequences and and impunity. It’s time that we rise up against the bad apples in the department and have them fired

  30. Marcus on October 16th, 2013 12:40 pm

    Thanks for the reccomendations haha Fluuuussshhhhhh!

  31. just saying on October 16th, 2013 11:56 am

    Well I will agree their actions were not criminal in nature. However they certainly were negligent and show a lack of training. The officers involved in the Middleton case need to be on the rubber duck squad for a while.