Florida prosecutor investigates shots at couple lost while delivering groceries
A Florida prosecutor on Sunday ordered an investigation into a confrontation in which a homeowner fired shots into a couple’s car after they mistakenly turned on to his property while making a late-night grocery delivery.
Police closed the case without consulting the state attorney.
No one was injured by the gunfire in an upscale Fort Lauderdale suburb, but it was the latest in a spate of US shootings in which people have mistakenly turned on to the wrong property or got into the wrong car.
One person has been killed and others wounded. In the Florida case, the shooter told police the car was driven erratically, striking his leg and making him fear for himself and his son.
The Broward county state attorney, Harold Pryor, said on Sunday that police investigators never contacted his office about the 15 April shooting in Southwest Ranches that put at least two bullets into the car driven by 19-year-old Waldes Thomas Jr, who was with his 18-year-old girlfriend, Diamond Darville.
Pryor said his staff was unaware of the shooting until they were contacted by a reporter from WTVJ-TV who interviewed the couple.
The Davie police department serves Southwest Ranches.
“I contacted the Davie police department to request a full investigation,” Pryor said, adding that prosecutors would decide if charges should be filed.
Davie police declined to comment but released the lead detective’s report. He wrote that without video he could not determine if the shooter or the couple committed a crime.
“Each party appeared justified in their actions based on the circumstances they perceived,” the report said.
The shooting happened on an unlit street in a semi-rural neighborhood. According to the police report, Thomas and Darville got lost while delivering groceries for Instacart shortly before 10pm. They were on the phone with their customer when Thomas turned their 2014 Honda Civic into an area where the shooter stored excavation equipment. The address Thomas and Darville were looking for was across the street.
The shooter and the couple gave conflicting reports about what happened next.
The homeowner told officers he asked his 12-year-old son to tell the driver to leave, then heard the boy yell for help. The father said he saw the car driving erratically, banging into logs and boulders, so told his son to run. He said the car ran over his foot. Saying he feared for his life and that of his son, the man drew a handgun and fired at the car’s tires. It sped away. He called police.
An officer found Thomas and Darville nearby. Asked what happened, they replied: “We just got shot at.”
The officer said Darville was crying and Thomas appeared “extremely nervous and scared”. The officer said there were two bullet holes in the car’s bumper and one tire was flat.
The couple told police they thought they were at the right house, then tried to leave after the boy told them they weren’t. Thomas said he put the car into reverse and hit a boulder, which was when the shooter approached “aggressively”. Thomas said he heard shots and drove away. Darville said she saw the shooter pull his gun and fire.
“I said, ‘We got to go, we got to go,'” Darville told WTVJ. “I was scared, I’m not going to lie.”
Darville did not respond to a call or emails. The AP is not naming the resident because he has not been charged with a crime. He did not comment.
Police said that after closing the case, they returned the shooter’s gun to him.