Lawsuit: 4 men shot by deputies outside Kissimmee Target used as 'test subjects'
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - A lawsuit has been filed against the Target Corporation following a deputy-involved shooting outside a Target store in Kissimmee in April 2022 that left a man dead and three other men hurt.
The shooting happened on April 27, 2022, in the parking lot of the Target store on U.S. Highway 192 in Kissimmee. Osceola County deputies alleged that two men wearing masks stole pizza and Pokémon cards, and OSCO then attempted a "takedown" in the parking lot, which led to shots being fired inside a vehicle.
Jayden Baez was shot and later died at the hospital. Three others – Michael Gomez, Joseph Lowe, and Ian Joi – were injured.
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Lowe and Gomez were initially charged with petty theft, but those charges were later dropped by prosecutors.
The lawsuit, which was filed in March, alleges that Target was negligent in maintaining a safe business and that it colluded with the Osceola County Sheriff's Office in allowing the men to be "test subjects" in OCSO's training exercise.
Baez's family is also claiming wrongful death against Target.
The lawsuit seeks more than $50,000 in damages, though it does not provide a specific number, and demands a jury trial.
FOX 35 has reached out to the Osceola County Sheriff's Office and Target for comment on the lawsuit.
Read the lawsuit
The Osceola County Sheriff's Office previously confirmed that deputies were conducting a training exercise in a nearby parking lot prior to the shooting. Those deputies were in tactical gear and did not have their body worn cameras on due to the training, OCSO previously said.
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Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez last year came to the defense of the deputies, calling their actions justified and signaled trust in their training and experience.
Sheriff Lopez requested the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to do an independent review into the actions of the deputies. In a statement, the sheriff's office said the FDLE completed that investigation more than eight months ago.
FOX 35 reached out to the FDLE for comment on their investigation. We also contacted the State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit, which is reviewing the case.
"The details of that investigation are not currently available for public consumption," said a spokesperson for State Attorney Monique Worrell. "We will be sure to provide a full report once that investigation has concluded."