New evidence released in possible Sanford ‘stand your ground’ case

Shooting was result of argument at gas station, police say

SANFORD, Fla. – The Sanford Police Department released new 911 calls and an incident report Friday in regard to a shooting that happened at a gas station Thursday morning that police say was a possible “stand your ground” case.

The shooting was a result of an argument at a RaceTrac that took place around 9 a.m. Thursday. 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.

Newly released 911 calls bring more insight into what those witnesses saw saying the man who was shot was actually the aggressor.

“A big, tall very athletic looking black guy who was punching and acting and yelling people in the store and acting like he wanted to have a big argument with somebody and wanted to beat somebody up,” One 911 caller can be heard saying. “Then as I was sitting pumping my gas I heard 3 or 4 pop pop pop shots and see somebody laying on the floor, that’s all I know.”

Sanford police also released an incident report that took the account of the gunman who claims he shot in self-defense.

“He came into the store and started threatening stating that he was going to kill him [the shooter] advised that he and [redacted] were then walking outside into the parking lot when the male approached them again threatening them and had his hand under his shirt making think that he had a gun at which point took out his gun and began to shoot the male,” the incident report read.

“That’s a huge difference,” said Attorney Steve Kramer who is also News 6′s Legal Analyst. “If someone signals that they have a weapon and they say they are going to kill you and do that even without a weapon that changes the complexion of the case dramatically.”

Kramer adding “stand your ground” cases are complex and there are still many details unknown before making a final determination.

For example, Sanford Police say the unarmed alleged aggressor was six-foot,-eight-inch tall but did not release how tall the shooter was. Also, police say the two had an ongoing long-time dispute, Kramer said the state attorney would want to know more about the nature of that relationship and will ultimately make the final decision before ruling its a “stand your ground.”

“To see law enforcement come out and make a statement they believe it’s “stand your ground” self-defense case speaks volumes because generally, you are not going to see that,” Kramer added.

However, Friday the Sanford Police Department said they did consult the State Attorney Phil Archer’s office before declaring it was self-defense, They will now turn over the case for that investigation, not releasing witness statements or surveillance video at this point. News 6 emailed the State Attorney’s office for comment and an interview with no immediate response.

As of Friday, no charges have been filed. The school employee who was shot twice in the torso is in the hospital, last checked in critical condition.