Sheriff updates on officer-involved shooting

Posted at 9:00 AM, Apr 24, 2016

Monday, 6:30 PM UPDATE:
St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara is asking for help from the community as his agency looks into the shooting death of a Fort Pierce man by city police officers.  

The Sheriff says when he arrived at the shooting scene moments after it happened late Saturday, he was told there were about a dozen witnesses.  But so far, no one has come forward with any first-hand accounts.

Candles still burning behind a home on North 19th Street.  Friends remembering 21 year-old Demarcus Semer.

He was heading to this home to make music with his friends.

“He inspired me to work harder.  To do better in life," said his best friend Isaiah, who didn't want his last name used.

St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said Monday afternoon that Semer didn’t pull over initially for a traffic stop. That officer called for backup.

“From the facts on the scene, he fled in his car and he fled on foot," said Sheriff Mascara.

One officer was hit by Semer's car, the other was trapped inside the moving vehicle.

Both officers fired their weapons. At least three shots were fired. Bullet markings, and one bullet hole can be seen at the home on North 19th.

We don’t know how many times Semer was hit, or where.

“He was a good person to look up to.  He was a bank teller and he had just gotten a new job.  He wondered how he was going to get his money and you feel me, just make it out," said friend Darron Davis.

The Sheriff would not answer whether Semer had a weapon but added he had nothing illegal on his person and had no criminal record.  He says his office will do a thorough and professional investigation.

“The last thing I want is the rumors and the false theories on what happened in this case to continue to have groundswell in our community," said Sheriff Mascara.

Neither Fort Pierce officer was identified by name yet.  The Sheriff said his office still needs to interview both.  He did say both were veterans of the department.  There was no dashcam video of the incident.


EARLIER UPDATE: St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara addressed media Monday afternoon to give updates on the Fort Pierce Police officer-involved shooting that left 21-year-old Demarcus Semer dead on Saturday night.

At this point in the investigation, evidence indicates Demarcus Semer’s vehicle did not initially stop for a traffic stop, according to the Sheriff. The officer then called for backup. When backup arrived, the vehicle finally stopped. Mascara did not say the reason for the initial stop.

At some point during the stop, Mascara says, Semer attempted to flee the scene and ran over an officer with his vehicle. At a later point, during a confrontation outside of the vehicle, the officer discharged his weapon. First aid was rendered to Semer, Mascara said.

No witnesses have come forward with what they may have witnessed. “The night of the incident, we heard 12 people say there were eyewitnesses to this event, but when we approached them, no one came forward” with information on the shooting, the Sheriff frustratingly said.

The Sheriff did say Semer was fleeing on foot when he was shot, but chose to withhold at this time whether the 21-year-old was shot in the back.

At least three shots were fired at Semer by both Fort Pierce officers, however, it is unclear if more shots were fired and how many may have hit Semer, Mascara said.



The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, which is investigating an officer-involved shooting in Fort Pierce that left an officer injured and a 21-year-old dead, will hold a news conference Monday afternoon.

The incident happened at approximately 11:55 p.m. Saturday at N. 19th Street and Avenue G. 

According to St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara, the driver, 21-year-old Demarcus Semer, attempted to flee and ran over one of the two Fort Pierce Police Department police officers while they conducted a traffic stop. 

The officer was transported to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center and Heart Institute with a leg injury. He was treated and released.

Mascara said the second officer was partially inside the vehicle attempting to stop the driver and was trapped. 

According to the sheriff, the driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

“The driver was identified as 21-year-old Demarcus Semer,” said Sheriff Mascara. “Semer has no prior arrests in St. Lucie County. Our detectives are continuing to fully investigate this incident and no further information is available at this time,” Mascara said.

Family and friends mourned the loss of Semer with a candlelight vigil Sunday night.

"This just doesn't make any sense," says Semer's sister Bianca.

A somber mood at the vigil, but anger and frustration earlier. Dozens of protestors rallied outside the Fort Pierce Police Department.

"How did this man end up dead from a traffic stop. It's got to stop," says Sylvester Davis.

Fort Pierce Police Chief Diane Hobley-Burney says she is asking the community for patience.

"We are working diligently with the sheriff's department because we want the community to know this is completely transparent. We wanted the sheriff to investigate because we wanted all voices to be heard. We don't want anyone to feel slighted."