ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – In the days after an Orange County deputy was accused of fatally shooting 21-year-old Salaythis Melvin, his mother Michelin McKee and father Ryan Findley have been trying to make sense of his death.
McKee said her life has been impacted by one action.
“I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye,” McKee said.
The shooting was captured on footage from a body camera.
The shooting outside of the Florida Mall on Aug. 7 lasted only a few seconds, but McKee said the fallout continues to this day.
“It’s hard, every day I walk in, [the] only thing I have is memories and pictures of him,” she said.
Findley and McKee said they have been silent for the past eight months in hopes the law would bring forth justice.
The fatal confrontation between Melvin and Orange County agent James Montiel set in motion months of heartache after a Sheriff’s Office report said Melvin was armed with a gun.
It’s a claim McKee disputes.
Clashing narratives about the sequence of events before Montiel opened fire has caused overwhelming frustration to Melvin’s father.
“Where was he going? There is I-4 this way, there is a pond this way and then he literally has to run a half-mile to get to Sand Lake, unless they say my kid was faster than a car, I don’t understand the reason why he got shot,” Findley said.
In the immediate aftermath of the police shooting, Melvin’s name joined those of others chanted by protesters seeking justice for victims of alleged bias by police.
“They just gun down my son in the back like this is the Wild Wild West or something,” Findley said.
After the Florida Department of Law Enforcement completed an independent investigation, the case was delivered to the Orange and Osceola County state attorney’s office to determine if Montiel would be charged.
“I need answers, I’m tired of waiting, it’s going on 8 months and 22 days,” McKee said.
“Something you don’t wish on your worst enemy,” Findley added.
The pair criticized the sheriff’s office for placing Montiel back on full duty.
“If you did something on your job you would be suspended till further notice, [until] the investigation was over,” Findley said.
Meantime, Melvin’s family said they have no choice but to wait for the state attorney’s findings and ask for help from above.