Sanford man fatally shoots 17-year-old during burglary attempt in possible stand your ground case, officials say

Case has been turned over to Seminole County State Attorney’s Office

The Sanford Police Department and Seminole County State Attorney’s Office are investigating the deadly shooting of a 17-year-old burglary suspect Tuesday.

SANFORD, Fla. – The Sanford Police Department and Seminole County State Attorney’s Office are investigating the deadly shooting of a 17-year-old burglary suspect Tuesday.

Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith addressed members of the media Tuesday afternoon to explain the details of the early morning incident. He said the teen, identified as Adrein Green, was burglarizing cars on the driveway of a gated home on Garrison Drive around 1:12 a.m. when the homeowner opened fire from his front door.

Smith played the 911 calls during the news conference during which the homeowner explains his wife woke him up as she was feeding their infant and heard noises outside of their residence. The caller tells dispatch he believed someone was breaking into his home and grabbed his firearm when he went to investigate.

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“Are there any weapons,” the dispatcher is heard asking on the call.

“Yes. I just fired a shot, he came by. Help me out, please help,” the caller said on the line.

Smith says the man saw a person in his front yard by one of his vehicles. Preliminary evidence shows the homeowner fired about 18 to 20 feet away from the teen.

When asked on the 911 call, the homeowner said he did not know if the teen was armed.

“I don’t know he just ran, he just ran, he faced me and I got super scared and my wife was behind me with the baby cause we kept hearing like a big bump, we kept hearing something,” the homeowner said, later adding he wanted to scare the unknown person off.

In the 911 call, the distressed homeowner told dispatch the possible burglar left on foot after he was shot.

Officers say Green was able to take off eastbound down Anderson Street. Officers found him around 1:17 a.m. lying on the road with a single gunshot wound to his back, according to a news release.

Smith said officers performed life-saving efforts as first responders arrived on the scene. Green was rushed to the hospital. He died upon arrival.

Smith said the case has been turned over to the state attorney’s office for further investigation.

Seminole County Assistant State Attorney Dan Faggard said under Florida law, when an individual is committing a forcible felony, including robbery, the victim is allowed to use deadly force to prevent that person from going through with that forcible felony.

Faggard said the incident can likely be investigated as a stand your ground case, a controversial Florida law that allows victims to use force in self-defense when one is fear for their life. He was careful to outline that statute extends beyond the well-known portions of the controversial law, saying there are multiple components that discuss the justifiable use of deadly force.

“(The) man indicated that he was in fear of his life but mostly for his newborn child and his wife who were in the home,” Faggard said. “We have to find there is probable cause to believe that the individual did not act in self-defense or justifiably. That’s a very high standard. Currently, we’re not able to make that determination and therefore he was not arrested this morning.”

Smith said officers found a large rock and a car battery near the passenger side of the homeowner’s vehicle. He explained marks on windows and the side of the vehicle are indicative of someone attempting to break in. Smith says this evidence leads officers to believe Green had intended to burglarize the vehicle.

“What we want our community to understand is that at the time it’s a unique situation, it’s a tragic situation, one that we hope never happens again within our community or any community around. No one wants to see a young person lose their life in such a tragic manner, and for what purpose? We will never know," he said. “You have a victim here who is married, who has a young child and bears those scars as well equally for the rest of their lives with regards to the incidents that took place today.”

Green’s great aunt Lillian Wright said that regardless of the circumstances, the homeowner went too far.

“We just want right done, justice done, and we will seem that justice will be done," Wright said.

She said Green was a junior at University High School in Volusia County.

“We need justice on this case because we feel it. Our family was in an uproar this morning -- 17 years old,” Wright said.

About the Authors:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.