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Family of Susan Teel, woman killed by Indian River County deputy, skeptical of events of shooting

Posted at 6:18 PM, Aug 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-04 18:18:05-04

Dr. Dudley Teel says his 40-year marriage to Susan Teel wasn't perfect.

“Like all families, we had our ups and downs, but she was wonderful,” he says.

Dr. Teel says lately he saw a change is his wife, as a battle with depression sent her down a dark path.

“Things just spiraled out of control and just got worse and worse,” he says.

The spiral culminated in the events of last Wednesday.

Indian River County deputies were called to the home of the Teels after she attempted to commit suicide.

The sheriff says Jonathan Lozada, was forced to shoot and kill Teel after she lunged at him with a butcher knife.

The family sees it another way.

“Isn't it time we have deputies trained to handle these cases like the negotiator and less like Rambo,” says family Attorney Gary Rubin.

Rubin says Susan's death was due to a lack of "intelligent policing' – and says it was the deputy who escalated the situation.

“Essentially approaching a person who was erratic and know to be erratic and put himself in harm’s way to then be in a position where deadly use of force was justified,” Rubin says. 

Days before the shooting, Teel's son James Teel was arrested for attacking his mother.

We asked if it led to her depression and eventual suicide attempt.

“That was probably a major factor in her inconsolable bout of depression,” Rubin says.

However, he says the burden still lies with law enforcement.

“Not a split-second decision, Not one gunshot, but three, Not deputy Lozada's only choice.”

We did reach out to the sheriff's office for comment.

A spokesperson told NewsChannel 5 "We do not comment on pending civil litigation."