BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Autopsy results for a 35-year-old Brevard County sheriff’s deputy cleared of wrongdoing in the 2020 shooting deaths of two Cocoa teens during a mistaken traffic stop shows the deputy had a history of cardiovascular issues, according to News 6 partner Florida Today.
The death was listed as natural and cardiac-related, the medical examiner’s office reported.
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Deputy Jafet Santiago-Miranda — who the medial examiner wrote had a history of ‘sudden collapses’ — was found dead in his sister’s Osceola County home on Oct. 10, 2021.
His body was found face down in the shower, reports show. His sister had returned home after being gone an hour and located him in the bathroom.
There were no signs of physical trauma or weapons involved, St. Cloud Police Department officers wrote in the incident report. The deputy’s death came nearly a month shy of the year anniversary of the controversial Cocoa shooting.
Santiago-Miranda worked for the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office when the Nov. 13, 2020 traffic stop took place. He is seen on a dashcam stepping toward a car driven by 16-year-old Angelo Crooms that day.
The dashcam records him stepping forward, then firing shots from his service weapon into the car as the driver appeared to turn the vehicle.
Angelo and Sincere Pierce, 18, died in Santiago-Miranda’s volley of bullets on the vehicle. State Attorney Phil Archer ruled the shooting reasonable and justifiable, saying the deputy feared for his life and acknowledging publicly that deputies mistook the vehicle for another one wanted by authorities.
The shooting stirred protests in Cocoa and in front of the state attorney’s office as the parents of the teens hired high-profile attorney Benjamin Crump to sue the Sheriff’s Office and Santiago-Miranda. The federal lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Orlando, is pending.
The medical examiner deemed the 299-pound Santiago-Miranda as obese showing signs of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. A toxicology report showed no signs of illegal drug use for Santiago-Miranda, described in the report as taking medications for a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, reports show.