OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — The attorneys for the 20-year-old man shot and killed after deputies opened fire outside an Osceola County Target provided new details on the case Wednesday afternoon.
Mark NeJame and Albert Yonfa, from NeJame Law, who are representing Jayden Baez and his family and Joseph Lowe, said Wednesday that the deputies involved in the shooting were in unmarked cars and did not identify themselves as law enforcement before the shooting.
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According to the attorneys, on April 27, four men, including two teenagers, were at the Kissimmee Target location when two of them entered the store and were suspected of shoplifting Pokemon cards and a pizza, worth a total of $40.
READ: Identities released of young men involved in deadly deputy-involved shooting outside Osceola Target
Attorneys said Osceola County deputies, who were conducting tactical training nearby, followed the teenagers in the store and watched as they left the store. They said the teenagers entered their car without being stopped.
The attorneys said as the men drove away from the store, several unmarked deputy vehicles boxed in their car.
READ: 1 dead in shooting involving 2 deputies in Kissimmee, sheriff’s office says
“From all the information obtained to date, the deputies never identified themselves as law enforcement and were in unmarked vehicles,” attorneys said in a statement. “As the car continued to drive off, the deputies, without legal cause or justification, fired multiple gunshots into their vehicle without regard for the safety of the occupants or civilians in the area.”
As a result of the shooting, the family attorneys said Baez, 20, was killed, and Joseph Lowe was critically injured after he was shot six times, and two others were seriously injured.
Nejame said the men involved were used as “human guinea pigs” by deputies and that “a hail of bullets descended upon them” during the shooting, which he called “unjustified.”
Lowe told his attorneys that no weapon was pulled on deputies, but it’s unclear what else may or may not have happened during the stop just before the shooting.
Attorneys believe the Audi that Baez was driving and an unmarked car did collide but they say that was due to a takedown tactic where the car was boxed in.
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Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that immediately prior to the shooting, several members of the agency were performing training exercises in a nearby parking lot. He said because they were training, the deputies were wearing tactical gear and not equipped with body cameras.
Lopez said he is not releasing any additional information about the shooting, including the names of the deputies involved, as the investigation is being handled by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
“I ask the media and the community for their patience as we wait for the investigation to be completed,” Lopez said in a statement. “It is important that all of us, my agency, the community, and the media, wait for the truth.”
You can read his full statement below:
Statement From Sheriff Lopez by WFTV on Scribd
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