VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - The state attorney announced Wednesday that a grand jury has decided that a Volusia County deputy who shot and killed an unarmed suspect will not face charges.
Derek Cruice’s loved ones have been protesting since Deputy Todd Raible shot and killed him.
“After two days of testimony and in deliberation, the grand jury declined to indict Deputy Raible on a manslaughter by culpable negligence charge,” said State Attorney R.J. Larizza.
Investigators said Raible shot Derek Cruice in the face while serving a search warrant for drugs in March. Cruice was not armed.
“I want justice for him because he did not deserve to die so young, and not in this manner. Not in this manner,” said Sheila Cruice.
She had been waiting for more than six months to find out if the deputy who killed her son will face criminal charges.
“Why did they use so much force? But it’s just hard. It’s a struggle,” said Sheila Cruice.
Officials said Raible perceived a threat as he entered the home on Maybrook Drive in Deltona and fired one time, shooting Derek Cruice in the face.
Derek Cruice’s friends in the home at the time said they want to know what that threat was, and argue he could not have had a weapon, since he was only wearing shorts with no shirt.
Later, investigators said items they found in the home included 217 grams of marijuana, scales, baggies and $3,000 in cash, but no weapons.
“There was no history or reason in my son’s background, ever, to go in there with such force,” said Sheila Cruice.
“It was an incident nobody wanted to happen. It’s an incident where, if you could turn back the clock, we would. My heart goes out to the family,” Larizza said.
Raible is still working for the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, but an internal investigation is still underway.
Sheila Cruice has hired Orlando attorney Mark Nejame who is working on a wrongful death suit against the department.
They could settle with the city or take it to a civil jury, which may see the case differently.
“Volusia County has a $5 million insurance police for negligence matters and yet they refuse to tap into it,” NeJame said.
Derek Cruice was arrested twice in the past on misdemeanor drug charges, but was never convicted.
Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson released a statement which read, in part, “Law enforcement officers have a tremendous responsibility as well as a dangerous job that sometimes requires them to make split-second, life-and-death decisions. That Derek Cruice was unarmed makes the outcome of this incident truly tragic. But it in no way alters the facts and circumstances that caused Investigator Raible and the other deputies in that fateful moment to perceive that their lives were in danger.”