Deputy involved in shooting had backup on the way, Volusia Sheriff's Office says
Officials say rural areas pose difficulties
SEVILLE, Fla. – Responding to questions from the public, the Volusia County Sheriff's Office has issued an explanation about why backup was not at the scene of a domestic violence incident that resulted in a deputy-involved shooting Friday night.
The questions arose after officials posted a 12-minute video from Deputy Brandon Watson's body camera that shows him confronting 29-year-old Emmanuel Alquisiras after the department received a report of a domestic violence incident around 7:40 p.m. at the 1600 block of North U.S. 17 in Seville.
That video showed Watson using his Taser on Alquisiras to stop him from attacking his girlfriend, then fatally shooting him when he grabbed Watson's Taser.
Officials said Watson and another deputy were dispatched when the Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from a domestic violence hotline, but the second deputy had to travel from DeLand to Seville, which is about 25 miles.
Authorities went on to say in a news release Monday that Zone 21, where Seville is located, is extremely large but the call volume is low.
"The reality has always been that fewer deputies are available to immediately respond to a call in Seville than in Deltona, for example, where population density and call volume are high. The video of Friday's incident is a clear illustration of that reality," officials said in a news release.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood and other officials from the Sheriff's Office stood behind Watson's actions, noting that the woman could have been seriously injured if Watson had not intervened.
"We believe that had the deputy not approached the residence to check on her – and had she turned out to be injured or worse – then we would be facing a different set of questions today," officials said.
The incident has prompted the department to take steps to reduce response times in Zone 21 by making more deputies available and requesting aid from neighboring counties when necessary.
Watson was not injured. He has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting.
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