ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A mother and father are demanding to see the body camera video of their son's death.
An Orange County deputy shot 22-year-old Salaythis Melvin in the back as he ran away from him in the parking lot of the Florida Mall last week.
Channel 9 investigative reporter Daralene Jones has new details about what led deputies to the mall, and learned that so far the department doesn’t plan to release the footage.
The sheriff's office said state agents are now reviewing the shooting to determine whether it was justified.
“He was a well known child. He was very popular in the community,” Melvin’s mother Michelin McKey said as she spoke briefly about her son, which is still too hard.
His parents told 9 Investigates they got the call about his death hours after an Orange County deputy chased him down at the Florida Mall and shot him in the back.
“We could’ve been at the hospital, could’ve been sitting by his side. Gets you kind of angry to know that the last moments of his life were spent alone,” Ryan Findley said.
Deputies had a warrant for 19-year-old Vanshawn Sands and were surveilling him at the Florida Mall last week. 9 Investigates found his Facebook page, where there are references to the "438 gang." Court records we dig through show the 438 is an ongoing feud with the Army gang, and may be the reason behind the shooting death of a 14-year-old this month. The two groups clashed again in July during a drive-by shooting on Powers Ridge Court in Pine Hills. One person was killed.
Court records show the car passenger, Jermain Ingram, was arrested for second-degree murder and deputies said also fired an assault rifle and that's why deputies had that warrant for him at the Florida Mall.
“You had the guy you were looking for. You said you had a suspect that you were looking for, you found that guy, what does he have to do with anything? He’s not even the guy you’re looking for,” Findley said.
According to this arrest affidavit, when deputies spotted a group, including Sands, at the mall, Melvin ran, and a deputy said he gave verbal commands to Melvin to drop his gun. The deputy said Melvin turned his head and started to face him while still holding a firearm in his waistband, and that's when he fired, believing Melvin was going to pull his gun and try to kill him.
“Based on the report itself, it’s a bad shooting. He should’ve never been shot in the back, he never pulled the gun out. And there’s body camera video that could tell us a lot more and they’re not disclosing it right now,” attorney Brad Laurent said.
The family and their attorney met with the undersheriff to discuss releasing the video, and they are hoping for a follow-up by noon Wednesday.
Department policy allows a deputy to use deadly force when someone makes an overt, hostile, attacking movement with or without a weapon, with the ability to harm a deputy. Melvin had been arrested for an unrelated crime last month, but again, was not the subject of an investigation that day.
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