OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - The 20-year-old man who was shot and killed by Osceola County deputies outside a Target in Kissimmee in April drove toward the deputies and collided with at least four law enforcement vehicles prior to the shooting, Osceola County Sheriff Marco Lopez said Monday.
He also said that the man had a gun with an extended magazine on him.
Sheriff Lopez read from prepared remarks during a seemingly staunch press conference regarding the shooting, which took place April 27 outside the Target near US Highway 192. Jayden Baez, the driver, was shot and later died at the hospital. Three other men, Michael Gomez, Joseph Lowe, and a juvenile, were injured and/or detained.
Law enforcement records allege that Gomez and Lowe stole pizza and Pokemon cards from the Target store. "They both passed all points of sale without any attempt to pay for the merchandise," Sheriff Lopez said.
Lopez said his deputies were near the Target for training when some of his deputies noticed suspicious behavior and a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot with the tags covered by a piece of paper. He said the people who got out of the vehicle were wearing "potential COVID masks" and had pulled the hoods of their clothing down over their faces.
Watch Sheriff Lopez's press conference below.
Lopez said deputies waited for the two men to come out of the Target store and get in the same vehicle before deputies in unmarked vehicles attempted to block the Audi in, which was being driven by Baez. Deputies also got out of their vehicles and shouted at Baez to stop, he said.
"In a few seconds, Mr. Baez rammed into a total of four Osceola County agency vehicles," Sheriff Lopez said, followed by a handful of photos of the damaged vehicles.
Despite that, Baez allegedly accelerated, rammed four vehicles, and forced at least one deputy to jump out of the way. At some point, deputies fired their weapons, though Sheriff Lopez declined to discuss that part, citing the FDLE investigation.
Watch a minute clip of the surveillance video:
"Agents from FDLE [Florida Department of Law Enforcement] are now in process of doing an independent, unbiased review of my deputies' actions. FDLE will investigate and turn their findings over to the State Attorney's Office and who will ultimately determine if my deputies were justified when they fired their firearms," he said.
"I never said I would not release information," he said. "What I did say is I would not release information until an investigation has been concluded."
Baez died at the hospital. Lowe and Gomez have been charged with petty theft. Details on the juvenile's alleged role has not been released.
Attorneys representing Baez's family have called the shooting as a "grotesque misuse of police authority" and threated a multi-million-dollar lawsuit.