This is an unfortunate set of circumstances. Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a request for assistance from the Leesburg Police in locating an attempted murder suspect. The suspect, Jonathan Brown, and his motorcycle were spotted in the Blueberry Hills apartment complex at around 0130 hrs. yesterday.
Not knowing where Brown was, deputies went to the apartment closest to the parked motorcycle. They knocked on the door without announcing that they were the police. Andrew Scott, the resident, opened the door and pointed a handgun at the deputies. A deputy shot and killed Scott. Brown was later found in an adjacent apartment in the same building.
Blame is already being assigned in both directions. Of course the Media are questioning why the deputies would knock on the door early in the morning without saying they were law enforcement. Tip #1: When looking for a homicide suspect, discretion may be a tactical advantage that leads to an uneventful arrest.
As to knocking on the “wrong door,” LCSO was likely quietly canvassing the building in an effort to find Brown or witnesses as to where he went. After all, we are expected to find the murder suspect and remove him from civilized society, if we have a good idea of where he is, which they did. This is part of our duty to protect innocents.
Believe it or not, we knock on doors all the time in the middle of the night in response to complaints, to make all manner of assistance notifications to citizens, and to perform general investigative duties. It is our job.
Lake County Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. John Herrell said, “The bottom line is, you point a gun at a deputy sheriff or police officer, you’re going to get shot.” This would be Tip #2. Even if it were not the police, is it prudent for a citizen to point the barrel of a gun at just anyone because they knock on your door in the wee hours?
Tip #3: Threat identification is always key in an armed confrontation. The deputies definitely identified a threat in Scott pointing a gun at them. Unfortunately for him, Scott had erroneously identified his threat. Unless you factor in that Scott had drugs and paraphernalia in his apartment. He may have seen the armed law enforcement officers as a danger to his continued freedom. Or he may have just been negligent in targeting the cops. Either way, his decision cost him his life.
This from local affiliate WESH: “Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies shot and killed a man they assumed was an attempted murder suspect on Sunday, but they now know they shot the wrong man.” They actually know they shot the right man, since he was the one pointing a gun at the uniformed sheriff’s deputies.
I hate it when the Media twist the circumstances for sensationalism.