Second deputy never fired gun in shooting that killed 2 teens, sheriff’s office says

Both deputies involved have been placed on administrative leave

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office clarified Wednesday that the second deputy involved in a shooting that killed two teens never fired her gun.

Sheriff Wayne Ivey previously said Deputy Jafet Santiago-Miranda and Deputy Carson Hendren were attempting to conduct a traffic stop on Friday on what they believed was a possible stolen car. Law enforcement in the Cocoa area had sent out a bulletin warning authorities to be on the lookout for a stolen vehicle that fled from a previous traffic stop. The sheriff said Santiago-Miranda and Hendren were in that area when they saw a vehicle matching the car’s description.

According to the sheriff’s office, Santiago-Miranda and Hendren spotted the vehicle as it made a left onto Stetson Drive South and into the driveway of a residence. The two tried to stop the vehicle as it was leaving the home with 18-year-old Sincere Pierce and 16-year-old Angelo “AJ” Crooms inside along with a third unidentified occupant.

As of Wednesday, authorities have not confirmed if the vehicle involved was stolen or if it was the same vehicle involved in the previous traffic stop.

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The sheriff on Tuesday released dashcam video of Santiago-Miranda and Hendren’s attempted traffic stop, which shows the deputies exit their vehicles as the car begins to back out of the driveway. The deputies then tell the occupants of the car to “stop the vehicle” or “stop” at least seven times, according to the video.

Ivey said Crooms was behind the wheel as he accelerated toward Santiago-Miranda.

[DASHCAM VIDEO: Warning, video is graphic]

The sheriff said the deputy was “forced to fire his service weapon in an attempt to stop the deadly threat of the car from crashing into him.” Crooms and Pierce, both of Cocoa, were taken to the hospital where they were pronounced dead.

According to Ivey, a third person inside the vehicle told the Florida Department of Law Enforcement they heard the verbal commands from inside the car and Crooms still accelerated.

On Wednesday, the sheriff’s office clarified the third occupant was not harmed in the incident and has not been charged. They have since been interviewed and released from the investigation, according to a spokesperson with the sheriff’s office.

AJ Crooms, 16, left, and Sincere Pierce, 18, right. (WKMG 2020)

The sheriff previously noted that two guns were found in the car the two teens were in. The sheriff’s office clarified Wednesday that authorities do not know who the guns belong to or if they were stolen. This detail would be determined as part of the FDLE investigation, the sheriff’s office said.

Since Santiago-Mirando opened fire, he has been put on paid administrative leave. Hendren’s involvement in the attempted traffic stop and ultimate shooting also required the sheriff’s office to put her on administrative leave as is agency protocol with deputy-involved shootings.

As the shooting occurred in Cocoa police jurisdiction, the department requested FDLE handle the investigation, which is standard protocol when a law enforcement officer uses deadly force.

Crooms was a student at Cocoa High School, according to Brevard County Public Schools.

The families of the two teens have secured notable civil rights attorney Ben Crump to represent them.