Attorney: Shooting of Florida deputy's killer was justified

AP News
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Posted: May 19, 2016 4:20 PM

SHALIMAR, Fla. (AP) — A Florida State Attorney's Office has ruled that deputies were justified last year in fatally shooting a suspect who had shot and killed one of their own.

Assistant State Attorney William Bishop wrote in a recently released report that all the Okaloosa County deputies were in reasonable fear for their lives and the lives of their fellow officers on Sept. 22, 2015 when they shot and killed 33-year-old Joel D. Smith following a standoff in Niceville, news outlets reported.

"The actions and choices of Joel Smith ... ultimately led to his death," Bishop wrote, finding that no criminal charges should be filed against the deputies.

Smith had fatally shot Deputy Bill Myers earlier that day in nearby Shalimar when Myers arrived to serve a restraining order that Smith's wife had filed, authorities said.

Myers then drove to Niceville, barricaded himself in a hotel room, and made suicidal statements, saying, "All I really want is for you all to kill me," the report said.

The deputies shot Smith when he pointed a handgun at them, the report said. It is unclear how many deputies fired their weapons. None of their identities have been released.

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This story has been corrected to show that deputies shot Joel Smith in Niceville, not Shalimar.