78ºF

‘He did not deserve to be shot in the back:’ Attorneys demand answers in fatal deputy-involved shooting outside Florida Mall

Attorneys claim they still haven't see body camera video of shooting

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The attorneys representing the mother of a man who was shot and killed by an Orange County sheriff's deputy last week said they still haven't seen the body camera video of the shooting.

According to an arrest affidavit, Agent James Montiel opened fire on Salaythis Melvin, 22, on Friday outside the Florida Mall. Sheriff John Mina said he had a stolen Glock handgun.

The sheriff said the incident began shortly after noon when deputies tried to approach a group of four individuals outside Dick's Sporting Goods because one of the men had an active warrant for his arrest and was also a person of interest in a triple shooting that occurred on Powers Ridge Court in Pine Hills last month.

Carlus Haynes and Bradley Laurent, the attorneys representing Melvin’s mother, said he was not the person deputies were looking for.

Haynes and Laurent said they requested to see the body camera video last weekend.

“We just thought it would be important for our client to see how her son actually died, to give her some closure,” Haynes said.

The attorneys said they met with the undersheriff on Monday and were expecting to see the video then. However, they did not see the video and said they were told to file a public records request.

Haynes and Laurent said they don't know when they will see the video.

"The sheriff can definitely expedite that, but at this point that's kinda up to him," Laurent said.

They add they believe they are getting the "runaround" from the sheriff's office because the video doesn't show the shooting was justified.

"They would have said, 'Yeah he reached back, he shot or pulled the gun out and he aimed it,'" Laurent said. "It would have come out in the very first media interview they did. Obviously that is not what occurred."

The day of the shooting, Mina would not say if Melvin pointed his gun at the deputy. Mina did not say anything else when News 6 spoke to him on Monday and asked 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 earlier this week.

According to an arrest affidavit, Melvin ran toward Montiel while holding a gun in his waistband. The report said Montiel told Melvin to drop the weapon as he ran away from the deputy.

The affidavit said Montiel chased after Melvin. Then Melvin turned his head and "started to face him while holding his firearm," the affidavit stated.

The report said Montiel fired his gun and hit Melvin in the back. The report said he believed Melvin "was going to pull his gun and try to kill" him.

The attorneys said despite his criminal past, Melvin did not deserve to die like this and they are fighting to get answers for his mother.

"At the end of the day he did not deserve to be shot in the back. You shoot animals running from you. You don't shoot people," Haynes said.

The attorneys also claim the sheriff's office delayed notifying Melvin's mother about the shooting and her son's passing.

News 6 contacted the sheriff’s office on Wednesday regarding the attorneys’ claims.

A spokesperson said in a statement, “Due to the potential of litigation, neither we nor Sheriff Mina will be able to address any of these issues posed by the family’s attorney.”


About the Author: