Unarmed Florida man allegedly shot in own driveway by sheriff’s officers

theGRIO REPORT - Roy Middleton was shot in his own driveway at about 2:38 AM Saturday by Escambia County sheriff's deputies.

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Roy Middleton was allegedly shot in his own driveway at about 2:38 AM Saturday by Escambia County sheriff’s deputies.

The 60-year-old was searching his mother’s Lincoln Town Car for a loose cigarette when neighbors called 911, thinking someone was robbing the car, reports the Pensacola News-Journal.

Middleton told PNJ that he initially thought it was a neighbor playing a joke on him when he heard someone tell him to put his hands up.

He alleges the deputies opened fire when he turned to face them.

“It was like a firing squad,” Middleton told PNJ from his bed at Baptist Hospital. “Bullets were flying everywhere.”

Middleton’s bone shattered when he was shot in the thigh and will require surgery to put a medal rod in place.

A teenage girl said she witnessed the events unfold, telling PNJ that Middleton didn’t do anything to provoke the officers.

Middleton’s mother, Ceola Walker, 77, said that she found 17 shell casings in her carport following the shooting, according to the NY Daily News.

In the aftermath of the incident, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan held a press conference Monday.

Morgan said that deputies Jeremiah Meeks and Matthew White responded to a 911 call for a possible burglary on Saturday. Upon arriving, the deputies reported that they made several commands to Middleton, requesting to see his hands.

They reported that when exiting the vehicle, Middleton lunged forward with a “metallic object” in his hand, causing the officers to fear for their safety and fire.

During the press conference Morgan said that the report says deputy Meeks was the first to fire.  White could not tell which direction fire was coming from due to the angle at which he was standing, so he joined in firing at Middleton.

Sheriff Morgan stated:

As always when we have someone that’s involved in an officer involved shooting, it’s a tragedy for the entire community, and most assuredly when we have an incident such as this when in the final analysis we find that it was not a burglary or car theft in progress. It was actually someone who had lived in the home.  So that begs the question, ‘how did it go so horribly bad?’

The case is currently under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the deputies involved have been placed on paid administrative leave.

Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals.