Attorney for deputy accused of pointing gun at Lyft driver claims self defense

Sheriff suspends deputy, orders internal investigation

Orange County Sheriff John Mina said on Monday that if the allegations of aggravated assault with a firearm against now-suspended Deputy Troy Heyer are true, he will fire him.

“I will tell you, if the facts of the case are that one of our deputies was drinking and pulled his gun on a Lyft driver that, you know, he’s not going to be here anymore, but we’ll see what the investigation says,” Mina said.

According to the arrest report, Orlando police officers “smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from [Heyer’s] breath, his eyes were watery and he slurred his speech” before they arrested him in front of his home early Saturday morning.

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The Lyft driver told police he had dropped off Heyer at his Lake Nona-area home and sat in Heyer’s driveway to file a complaint with Lyft when Heyer approached with a gun, according to the report, and asked, “What are you doing here?”

The Lyft driver said he feared for his life.

Police wrote in their report that when they tried to speak with Heyer, his wife answered the door and said her husband was sleeping. She eventually woke him.

“Troy Heyer stated he did not know anything about the incident and that we woke him up,” police wrote. “Troy Heyer stated he used Uber or Lyft to get home. Troy Heyer soon stated he was not going to talk to me and stated, ‘You’re either going to arrest me or I’m going back in the house.’”

Heyer's attorney, Richard Hornsby, said under Florida law, displaying or pointing a weapon is non-deadly force and is allowed to remove an unauthorized person from a property.

Hornsby said Heyer was protecting himself and his home and was allowed with a gun to confront the Lyft driver parked in Heyer's driveway because the driver's "license to be on property was terminated" after he dropped off Heyer.

Officers arrested 45-year-old Heyer on a charge of aggravated assault with a firearm.

“These are very serious criminal allegations. As law enforcement officers, we must be held to the highest standards of conduct whether on duty or off duty," Mina said. “These allegations will be thoroughly investigated and the results of that investigation will be made public.”

Heyer, who was hired in 2005 and worked in the court services division, has been relieved of law enforcement duties during the criminal investigation, according to a news release.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has also initiated an internal investigation.

Lyft released the following statement regarding the incident:

“Safety is fundamental to Lyft and we have a strict no weapons policy. We have permanently banned the rider from Lyft, and stand ready to work with law enforcement.”

Heyer made his first appearance before an Orange County judge Sunday.

He was granted a $1,500 bond and released under the conditions that he have no contact with the driver, not consume alcohol and surrender his weapons.

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