ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Family, friends and community members gathered at the Florida Mall Monday to protest at the scene where Salaythis Melvin was fatally shot by a deputy days earlier.
“I want that officer who shot my cousin to get with the press and talk about what happened. I want to know what transpired, we want answers,” said Melvin’s cousin, Serilla Crafford.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said 22-year-old Melvin was with a group in the parking lot of the Florida Mall Friday. One man in the group, they said, was being sought as a person of interest in a previous shooting.
When deputies approached the group, they said Melvin ran off. At some point, a deputy shot Melvin, who later died from his injuries.
“Some people are saying he got shot in the back. If he was running away as they say, where else would they shoot him? Somewhere from behind,” Crafford said.
News 6 caught up with Sheriff John Mina earlier Monday, to ask about the investigation and if the shooting was justified.
“That is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. All of those results will be transferred right to the State Attorney’s Office,” Mina said.
He did say that Melvin had a stolen gun at the scene.
Family members said they are protesting in Melvin's memory for justice.
"We want answers, we want justice," said Marlonda Richardson, Melvin's cousin.
“If he (the deputy) killed my cousin unjustly, he needs to be behind bars, period,” Crafford said.
Although Melvin had a record and served time for several offenses including battery on a law enforcement officer, his family said he didn't deserve to die.
Mina said he plans to meet with Melvin’s family sometime this week to talk about the investigation.
A Change.org petition has been created asking that authorities release the body camera video of the shooting.