Sanford police believe shooting of Seminole schools employee is ‘stand your ground’ case

Man who was shot, gunman have long-standing dispute, police say

SANFORD, Fla. – A Seminole County Public Schools employee was critically injured in a “stand your ground” shooting Thursday morning after an argument with another man inside a Sanford gas station, according to police.

Officials with the school district said two delivery workers with the district were at a RaceTrac gas station on the corner of East State Road 46 and East Lake Mary Boulevard when the shooting happened.

Sanford police said one of the workers went inside the RaceTrac, where he encountered another man with whom he had a long-standing feud. The second delivery worker was not involved in the shooting, the district said.

“(The first worker) confronts the other party in the interior of the gas station and a verbal altercation ensues,” said Bianca Gillett, public information officer with Sanford police. “And so because of that, 911 calls (were made) regarding the disturbance. People inside the RaceTrac were very worried. There were some threats made, yelling, that kind of thing.”

Investigators did not detail what was said in the threats.

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Before police could arrive, the worker exited the gas station but returned several times to continue the argument, Gillett said.

“The (gunman) at that point in time decides to leave the RaceTrac — (he) expressed possible concern for the other people around him that were kind of getting upset, were worried, fearing about the altercation,” Gillet said. “(He) goes to exit the RaceTrac. Before he exits the RaceTrac, he takes out a firearm from his pocket. He does have a concealed weapons license. He goes to leave the gas station and right as he’s exiting the doors, (the worker) is there again for a confrontation and the shots are fired.”

Police said the argument between the worker and the gunman was never physical. However, Gillet said that the shooter and others inside the store were in fear because of what the worker had said during the fight.

“At this point in the investigation, (it) appears to be a ‘stand your ground’ case,” Gillet said. “So we will not be filing charges today or making an arrest today. We will send the complete investigative packet over to the state attorney for a final decision.”

Police said the shooter remained at the scene and has been cooperating with the investigation. Several witnesses also corroborated the shooter’s account of what happened leading up to the gunfire, according to investigators.

“It was important to note that we weren’t just dealing with the other party that had the firearm. We had a gas station full of people who are also in fear and that plays into the investigation,” Gillett said.

Gillet did clarify that though no arrest has been made at this time, the gunman could face charges as the investigation continues.

The worker was rushed to a hospital following the shooting with life-threatening injuries, according to police.

The name of the shooter is not being released as Florida’s “stand your ground” law protects his identity, according to police.


About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.