ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The family of a man shot in the back and killed by an Orange County sheriff’s deputy earlier this month is calling for answers as the investigation into the shooting continues.
Salaythis Melvin, 22, was seen on body camera footage running from Agent James Montiel in the parking lot of the Florida Mall on Aug. 7, where he falls to the ground after being shot.
According to the incident report, Montiel said he feared Melvin was reaching for a gun in his waistband.
“Y’all are supposed to protect and serve, but y’all haven’t protected and served nobody,” said Sixx Jones, Melvin’s cousin.
Jones and several other family members gathered at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office on Monday holding up signs demanding more information be released in the investigation into Melvin’s death.
“Y’all didn’t have to do him like that. What happened to a taser? Y’all could’ve run him down, tackled him. Anything, but you shot him,” she said.
“Could it not have been handled differently? Just yes or no,” asked radio personality Monica May in a Facebook live chat on Monday night.
She invited Sheriff John Mina to discuss the shooting death of Melvin.
“Monica, that’s all part of the investigation,” he responded. “I’m not going to sit here and try to absolve someone or defend someone. That’s not fair to the family, that’s not fair to the deputy involved.”
Mina said he was not able to talk about many aspects of the case as it’s being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
That wasn’t welcome news for Melvin’s family, who said they wanted to hear directly from the man who pulled the trigger, James Montiel.
“We need updates. We need answers. We need justice,” said Stella Richardson, Melvin’s cousin. “We need him to come out and give what he needs to say. We haven’t heard nothing from him, yet.”
Mina announced there is more video that shows what happened at the Florida Mall on Aug. 7.
He said investigators should be releasing that by Wednesday at the latest.