PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Outside the “1ST and 10 Sports Bar & Grill” in suburban Boynton Beach, the morning of June 7, 2012 looked chaotic and sounded chaotic.
"I'm shocked. I can't believe it," said Angela Osgood that morning. She was a friend of Victor Arango, who was gunned down by a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy after a struggle with another deputy.
8 months later, a 3-page memo just released by the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office indicates the deadly shooting at the hands of a deputy was, “a reasonable use of force.” As a result, state prosecutors will not file any charges against Deputy Michael Suszczynski, a 7 year veteran of the department.
The early morning shooting appeared to have started as a fight between women but ended in a struggle among men.
According to Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg, the first deputy arrived on scene and tried to break up the fight between the men. But, according to the memo, the deputy landed in "a violent struggle with Victor Arango.” According to the State Attorney’s investigation, Arango “refused orders to stand down and walk away."
Moments later, Deputy Michael Suszczynski arrived on scene. The SA’s report indicates that Suszczynski noticed Arango's hadgun in the back of his trouser waistband. According to the report, Suszczynski at the time, also noted Arango’s elbow drawing back.
"This is where it gets kinda scary for me," Deputy Suszczynski told investigators.
"I see this guy's shirt lift up. I see a black semi-automatic handgun back here....I'm like, 'oh my God Tommy's gonna get shot,' " he said.
Eyewitnesses from the scene reported a different story that June morning.
"The cops came they wrestled Victor, wrestled him to the ground,” described eyewitness Kevin Mullan just hours after the shooting. “They found out he had a gun, so they took his gun off of him, they threw it to the side, away from him. They had two cops holding him to the ground. Then, the third cop proceeded, just put his gun to his side and shot him twice.”
At the time, 26-year-old Arango worked as a server at a Boynton Beach restaurant. He also had a young daughter he supported.
Arango's run-in with Deputy Suszczynski lasted just 57 seconds.
"I have a decision to make real quick," said Deputy Suszczynski. "I draw my weapon. I step into them. I make a hard decision. I have to shoot this guy.”
According to Arango's family Attorney, Ken Metnick, the State Attorney’s decision not to file charges against deputy Susczcynski will not impact the family's plans to file an excessive force lawsuit against the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.
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