ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings on Thursday weighed in on the deputy-involved shooting that claimed the life of 22-year-old Salaythis Melvin.
“Any time a person loses their life at the hands of law enforcement, it’s always a tragedy,” Demings said.
Melvin was shot and killed on Aug. 7 after investigators said he ran from them in the parking lot of the Florida Mall.
The agent who fired the gun said he feared Melvin was reaching in his waistband for a weapon.
Demings, who is the former sheriff of Orange County, said he was able to watch a few of the pieces of body worn camera footage released by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday.
“There’s some details and some facts about that case that I’m just like everybody else -- I want to see what it looks like,” he said. “I want to hear more about what led up to the shooting itself, and until we have all of those questions answered I will continue to have a little uneasiness about it.”
Carlus Haynes and Brad Laurent represent Melvin’s family.
They told News 6 on Thursday night they were surprised Demings said as much as he did.
“For us, it was a validation that what we felt is what someone else is feeling, who -- again -- I think is probably one of the most qualified persons to weigh in on this,” Haynes said.
Demings said the shooting of Melvin is currently being reviewed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The sheriff’s office said it will conduct its own internal investigation after the FDLE is finished.
Demings said the case may need a third set of eyes.
“There quite frankly may have to be additional review by the Department of Justice in that case,” he said.
Haynes and Laurent said they intend to ask the department to investigate.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has not responded to a request for a comment on Demings’ statements.