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Sheriff Bradshaw responds to RPB vigil incident

Posted at 7:17 PM, Jun 07, 2016

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw is responding after a Monday night vigil for a teen turns chaotic.

Bryan Valentin was killed Monday morning when he was speeding and lost control of his car, crashing into a tree. 

On Monday evening, friends and family gathered at that tree on Okeechobee Boulevard near Royal Palm Beach High for a vigil.

The evening started out calmly and peacefully with only a handful of people.

Soon after, the crowd swelled to more than 100 people, according to PBSO. 

Deputies tried moving the crowd out of the median and onto the sidewalk. 

PBSO says some became confrontational. 

Speaking to us by phone, Sheriff Bradshaw tells us two deputies asked the crowd at least twice to clear the streets" for everyone's safety--theirs and motorists.

Bradhsaw noted most were complying and moving to the sidewalk to continue their vigil, but he said, one became “confrontational."

The deputies moved to make an arrest - 21 year old Dustyn McCoy - who deputies say refused to leave and balled up his fists. 

The sheriff says several others in the crowd became angry.

He says that's when deputies, “fired pepper balls into the ground.”

Sheriff Bradshaw tells us, "All that was needed was to comply and then complain later"

He added deputies did what they needed to protect themselves.

Valentin’s childhood friend Alex Nathan-Guelli attended the vigil.

He admits there were a lot of people on the sidewalk and in the median, but he was critical of the way the way deputies handled the situation. 

He says he and others in the crowd we're actually hit with the pepper balls.

“They shouldn't be doing that, because were trying to pay respects to the man who is loved by a lot of people,” he says. “We had over 70 people here just paying their respects and crying, and [PBSO] trying to arrest people and act violently towards the nonviolent in front of the deceased’s mother. Coming from me, if I was his mother, I would've lost it even more.”

As for the crash itself, PBSO tells us it could be weeks or months before a crash report is complete.