FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – Three Flagler County deputies who shot a wanted fugitive last year after he reportedly pointed a gun at them during a traffic stop will not face charges in the case, according to the State Attorney’s Office.
State Attorney R.J. Larizza sent a letter to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly this week notifying them of the decision.
“This letter is to advise that this office has reviewed all of the investigative reports, officer statements and witness statements provided by your office regarding the ‘police use of force’ involving Deputy Jayd Capela, Deputy David Lichty and Deputy Kyle Gaddie of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office that occurred on July 1, 2020. Based on a review of the investigation and the information provided, no further action is warranted by this office,” the letter read.
Records show that on July 1, 2020 around 11:15 p.m., deputies saw a beige 1994 Toyota Corolla that was known to be associated with 30-year-old Steven Barneski, so they attempted a traffic stop since there was a nationwide pickup order for him.
Deputies said the car slowed down and parked at Barneski’s residence on Sabal Palm Street and they immediately noticed Barneski was in the front passenger seat, so they ordered him to get out of the vehicle but he refused.
Barneski demanded to know who the deputies were even though they were in their uniforms and marked patrol cars, according to the news release.
During that interaction, Barneski is accused of reaching under the seat and grabbing a chrome firearm.
Deputies yelled, “Gun, gun, gun,” then Capela, Lichty and Gaddie opened fire, records show.
Even after he was shot multiple times, deputies said Barneski refused to drop the gun. After a few minutes, he threw it out the vehicle’s door so first responders could approach and treat him, according to authorities.
Barneski was taken to a hospital in serious condition. He was released on July 6, 2020, and booked into the Flagler County Jail.
Deputies said Barneski was known to law enforcement and had been wanted at the time on charges of violation of probation involving possession of a controlled Schedule 2 substance and violation of probation for leaving the scene of an accident with injury.
His past criminal history includes charges of aggravated stalking, resisting an officer with violence, battery and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, among others.
A few weeks after his arrest, additional charges of carrying a concealed firearm, possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer were filed against him.
“This suspect is a convicted felon that shouldn’t have even had a gun to begin with,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Now he faces these additional charges for the additional crimes he committed that night. This case could have ended with a deputy seriously injured or killed and I am very thankful the deputies survived this encounter with a dangerous felon.”
Barneski remains in the Flagler County Jail without bond.