OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Joseph Lowe, 19, remains hospitalized more than a week after he lost a finger when Osceola County deputies opened fire on the car he was in outside a Kissimmee Target store.
“Not even half a second, they start shooting into the car,” Lowe recalled from his hospital bed, where he continues to recover because his hands remain full of stitches.
Deputies shot Lowe and Michael Gomez outside of Target on West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway last week.
They’re accused of stealing a pizza and Pokemon cards.
The 20-year-old man behind the wheel of the car Lowe and Gomez got into, Jayden Baez, died of his injuries after bullets started flying.
“I came out of Target and sat in the car... Michael comes out of the store and sat in the car soon, as he closed the door two unmarked cars come,” Lowe said.
According to arrest affidavits, Lowe and Gomez were followed by deputies into the Target parking lot.
Deputies, who were in a training exercise in plain clothes and without body cameras, called Target loss prevention to assist in watching what they were doing.
Lowe said the situation escalated quickly.
“They didn’t say ‘freeze,’ anything like that,” Lowe said. “They start shooting in the car. I put my hand up like that and got shot six times.”
So far the details of what happened in the seconds from the time the car was stopped to the shooting has not been released. But those details will be key in determining if the shooting was justified or not.
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office said they will be transparent, but not until the Florida Department of Law Enforcement finishes its investigation into the shooting, which could take upwards of 90 days.
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