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Indiantown residents pack local church to hear Sheriff Snyder deadly deputy-involved shooting

Posted at 11:42 PM, Oct 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-30 23:42:33-04

INDIANTOWN, Fla. -- More than 100 people packed into an Indiantown church Monday night to ask the sheriff questions and express concerns about a deadly deputy involved shooting.

Friday night, Sheriff William Snyder says a deputy shot and killed Jerry Richardson.

Friends of Richardson said he was homeless, lived in the woods in Indiantown, but was known to cut and style hair for a living.

They also said he was known to carry a machete with him everywhere he went, which is legal.

Monday night, Snyder says there were still few answers about why a deputy shot and killed Richardson. Snyder said no one called 911 Friday night to report any suspicious behavior by Richardson. 

The deputy involved never called for backup. He shot Richardson 5 times, according to Snyder.

“Until that deputy gives a sworn statement about what happened, we won’t know what was going through his mind,” Snyder said.

The deputy is expected to give a sworn statement Friday. His identity will be revealed Wednesday, Snyder said.

Richardson’s brother, James Richardson, asked the community to remain peaceful.

“In this case here, the truth will come out. Whether it’s good or bad, it’s going to come out,” Richardson said.

Snyder answered the questions he could, and provided what little information he had to the packed room.

He says the deputy involved in the shooting regularly works at the courthouse, but picked up an overtime shift.

Around 11:15 Friday night, Snyder says the deputy went on the radio to say he was doing a foot patrol.

There was no sign of a struggle, and Snyder says the deputy never reported any trouble.

Only minutes later, Snyder said the deputy got back on the radio.

“He got on an advised shots fired, I need fire rescue,” Snyder said.

Another deputy was at a traffic stop nearby and heard the shots. He arrived to the scene to find the deputy near the victim.

“That deputy states he saw the deputy with his hand on Mr. Richardson’s chest, clearly trying to stop the bleeding,” Snyder said.

Residents asked why a taser wasn’t used. 

Snyder says his deputy had a scratch on his neck. A medical examiner will test for DNA under Richardson’s fingernails to see if there is any evidence to suggest there was a struggle.

Family also mentioned Richardson has a history of mental health issues. They wondered if the deputy was aware of that condition.

Snyder said Richardson was Baker Acted last month after making contact with law enforcement.

Snyder and Richardson are now urging silent witnesses to speak up.

“There were several people who said they know what happened but wouldn’t tell us. There was someone who said they had a video but wouldn’t give it to us,” Snyder said.

“If you’ve got information, come forward. Come forward,” Richardson said.

Family says a memorial service for Richardson will be Wednesday at the Mt. Zion church in Indiantown.