Cops shoot man in his own driveway

By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   July 29, 2013 at 7:49 AM  |  Updated July 29, 2013 at 7:57 AM   |   Comments

July 29 (UPI) -- Smoking kills, and in this case, searching for a loose cigarette in his mother's car got Roy Middleton a bullet in the leg -- from police who thought he was a thief.

Middleton was in his driveway in Warrington, Florida, when a neighbor saw him searching his mother's car and called 911.

Escambia County Sheriff’s deputies arrived as Middleton, 60, was stooped over the car, and told him to "get your hands where I can see them."

Middleton said at first he thought it was a neighbor joking around with him, until he turned his head and saw the deputies.

Middleton says that he slowly backed away from the vehicle with his hands in the air, but claims that police began shooting as soon as he turned around.

"It was like a firing squad," Middleton said. "Bullets were flying everywhere."

The deputies, who have not been identified, are on paid administrative leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates the shooting.

"I’m just glad they didn’t hit me here or here," he said, pointing toward his head and chest. "My mother’s car is full of bullet holes though. My wife had to go and get a rental."

A teenage girl who witnessed the incident said she never saw Middleton provoke the deputies. "He wasn’t belligerent or anything," she said. Neighbors said they heard the commotion, but weren't sure why officers opened fire.

Middleton doesn't understand why he was shot, either. "Even if they thought the car was stolen, all they had to do was run the license plate," he said. "They would have seen that that car belonged there."

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