VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said he wanted citizens to know exactly why one of his deputies shot and killed a man during a domestic violence call Friday night, so he decided to show them the entire incident on video.
In a nearly 12-minute clip released Saturday, the video from Deputy Brandon Watson’s body camera footage can be seen as he responds to the incident in Seville just before 7:30 p.m.
911 dispatchers received a call from the domestic violence hotline shortly before, where an operator told dispatchers that a woman in Seville needed help as her male partner had been hitting her.
“This man is beating her and he has started punching her again,” the operator told 911 on the recording from that night.
On the video, Deputy Watson can be seen arriving at the house along U.S. Highway 17.
Sheriff Chitwood said Watson was the only deputy assigned at the time to the small, usually quiet area of the county, and his closest back-up was about 20 minutes away near DeLand.
Watson approaches several people on a porch who insist to him there are no problems.
Eventually, he discovers one of them is Emmanuel Alquisiras, 29, and the 24-year-old woman he was accused of abusing.
Chitwood said the woman only spoke Spanish and understood very little English, so Watson hands his phone to her to have the domestic violence hotline operator on the other end translate.
In the video, it appears Alquisiras tries to stop the phone from being passed back to the deputy, but when he does receive it the operator, on speaker phone, can be heard saying, ‘he was threatening her with a knife.’
Chitwood said translators in his office said the victim could be heard on the video repeatedly saying that Alquisiras had abused her.
At some point, with four kids visible on the porch, Alquisiras turns around and starts striking the woman, at which point Deputy Watson yells for him to stop and fires his taser at Alquisiras.
The suspect goes down, but for the next three minutes he repeatedly refuses to follow the deputy’s directions, even grabbing at Watson’s taser at one point.
Watson tases Alquisiras about five times during the exchange, but the man continues to refuse to put his hands behind his back.
"You ain't gonna take me out of here amigo. I don't care if you shoot me,” Alquisiras can be heard telling the deputy in the body cam video.
Finally, the suspect can be seen grabbing at the taser again, and Chitwood said they believe he actually took it from the deputy completely at that point.
The stun gun can be seen firing its second set of barbs at that point, but missing Deputy Watson.
Then Watson fires five rounds from his service gun.
Chitwood said four of the shots hit Alquisiras.
"If he loses his firearm, he's dead,” said Chitwood, “and we train that if you lose your taser, you have to transition."
Alquisiras was pronounced dead at the scene.
For the remainder of the video, the deputy can be seen trying to calm the other people on the scene, one of whom called in the incident to 911.
Deputy Watson also seems clearly upset by the situation, telling one of the suspect’s friends, ‘I didn’t want to do it… I’m freaking out too.’
Deputy Watson is on paid administrative leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates the incident.
Sheriff Chitwood, on Saturday, took to Twitter to tweet out his support of the deputy’s actions saying, ‘This deputy was placed in a terrible situation & did everything he could to try and convince this man to stop fighting. I stand behind the deputy 100%.’
"If he deploys that taser on the deputy, the deputy could end up dead,” Chitwood said.
Chitwood also said he believes that the woman involved would have been in serious danger had Watson left her with Alquisiras.
Watson has been with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office for three years.