Three able to provide key information about officer-involved shooting

Men were standing in parking lot with a close-up view of incident

By Don Coble don@claytodayonline.com
Posted 5/4/22

ORANGE PARK – After each job is completed for their moving company, Adam German, Zachary Kellar and a co-worker have a ritual to stop at the Wawa on Blanding Boulevard to get a soft drink and a …

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Three able to provide key information about officer-involved shooting

Men were standing in parking lot with a close-up view of incident

Posted

ORANGE PARK – After each job is completed for their moving company, Adam German, Zachary Kellar and a co-worker have a ritual to stop at the Wawa on Blanding Boulevard to get a soft drink and a sandwich.

That routine provided them a clear view of the deadly officer-involved shooting on April 27.

“It was really bizarre,” German said. “I was standing close enough I could hear the bullets whizzing and cracking.”

The man was shot to death after the Orange Park Police Department answered a call for possible domestic violence. A man left in a PT Cruiser and led police on a car chase. Clay County Sheriff’s Office deputies eventually became involved in the chase as he sped toward Middleburg on Blanding Boulevard.

The man turned right on Filmore Street onto a road behind the gas station, which gave a deputy the opportunity to perform a PIT maneuver. Seconds later, more than 20 rounds were fired.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene. His identity hasn’t been released by the sheriff’s office or the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which assumed the lead role of the investigation immediately after the shooting.

German and Kellar not only saw the incident, they heard it. They also got one of the clearest views of the PIT maneuver, shooting and aftermath – and they were able to record it on a cellphone.

Clay Today obtained a copy of the recording. In it, deputies clearly yelled commands to the man to not move and show them his hands. Clay Today then forwarded the recording and an audio of an interview with German and Kellar the day after the shooting.

The FDLE has since interviewed both men, German said.

“The lead cop car was able to get up close to him and actually picked it up and spun him out,” German said. “The lead car cop got out the police officers behind and then got out and proceeded to pull their firearms saying, you know, yell, ‘Put up your hands! Let me see your hands! I heard that. I heard them yell at him.

“And then they started opening fire.”

The men said deputies quickly created a perimeter and pushed everyone back. Because of that, they didn’t tell them what they just witnessed.

“We witnessed this,” Kellar said. “I heard him (CCSO deputy) say, ‘Put your hands up. Don't move.’”

“I don't know what the police knew if he had a firearm or not,” German said. “I don't know anything like that.”

Sheriff Michelle Cook offered basic details at the scene.

“Our deputies got involved at some point during the call ended up in a pursuit over here to Blanding and Filmore, where an officer or deputy-involved shooting occurred,” she said. “The subject is deceased on scene and the deputies are all OK.”

CCSO asks FDLE to take charge of all deputy-involved shootings. Cook said since the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney’s Office were in charge of the investigation, she said it was improper for her to make any additional comments.

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