Osceola sheriff, 2 deputies sued by family of man shot outside Kissimmee Target
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The family of a man who was shot and killed by Osceola County deputies outside a Target store last year is now planning to sue the sheriff and two deputies.
The sheriff is being accused of covering up and colluding. The lawsuit also claims the two deputies involved used excessive force.
The shooting happened April 27th, 2022. Joseph Lowe and Michael Gomez were accused of stealing $46 worth of Pokémon cards and pizza. Both teens were shot in the hand. A third man, 20-year-old Jayden Baez, was killed as he tried to drive away from and unmarked police car. Another man was also hurt.
"I will never be a grandfather ever," Alejandro Baez, Jayden Baez’s father, said.Now the family plans to file a lawsuit against the two deputies who pulled the trigger and Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez.
It claims the deputies used excessive, unreasonable and unnecessary force when they shot at the car.
RELATED: Lawsuit filed against Target over 2022 shooting outside Kissimmee store
"What we’re alleging and what we have found in our investigation is that Sheriff Lopez has fostered a policy and maintained a policy of endorsing the actions of some of his deputies," Albert Yonfa, attorney, said.
Attorneys also claim the sheriff’s office is covering up parts of the investigation and falsifying reports in the case. State Attorney Monique Worrell’s office is investigating the sheriff’s office.
"This situation was created by law enforcement. They used these young men as guinea pigs and conducted a lethal operation to stop a car knowing the consequences could be dangerous, and they were," Mark Nejame, attorney, said.
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office released a statement saying, in part, "It has been more than a year since the shooting took place. While on scene the shooting, Sheriff Lopez requested the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to do an independent review into the actions of deputies. FDLE completed that investigation more than 8 months ago."
The statement also said the sheriff’s office is waiting for the state attorney’s office to compete its review.
Attorneys also said they believe Sheriff Lopez is working with Gov. Ron DeSantis to try to remove State Attorney Worrell from office. They said if that were to happen, the investigation into this case would be over.