Rash of fatal deputy involved shootings in Palm Beach County

Sheriff defending his team

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. -  A rash of fatal deputy-involved shootings has  Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw once again, defending his team.

"Here we are again, armed suspect going to shoot a deputy, we had to take the action we had. I stress that, we had to take this action," says Bradshaw.

This is the fourth time in three weeks Sheriff Bradshaw says his deputies have had to use deadly force.

The first was May 16th, when Deputy Michael Custer shot and killed Seth Adams outside his family business in Loxahatchee Groves.

Five days ago deputies shot suspected carjacker Michael Wallach when he allegedly shot at police while trying to flee.

Then just three days ago, deputies shot Armando Gonzales after he allegedly shot his girlfriend multiple times. A K-9 and a deputy were both injured.

Criminology expert and former law enforcement officer George Kirkham weighs in.

"From what I know of these shootings I wouldn't ascribe a pattern. It's a statistical fluke to have pow pow pow pow, four really fast," says Kirkham.

Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association President John Kazajian blames a number of societal pressures.

"The economy, drugs and alcohol and gun control. There's lots of guns on the street that people have access to," says Kazanjian.

Beyond that he says it's coincidental. Both Kirkham and Kazanjian admit the string of shootings weigh heavily on other deputies minds, especially while on duty.

"It's going to heighten their reaction time and their reaction time and their response, their awareness, it'll heighten that," says Kazanjian.

Print this article Back to Top