Grand Jury Clears Osceola County Deputies in Target Shooting: Sheriff to Address Controversial Decision

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – The Osceola County sheriff will address the findings of a grand jury at a press conference on Wednesday, concerning the shooting incident at a Target store in Kissimmee in April 2022. The incident resulted in the death of one person and injury to two others. The State Attorney, Andrew Bain, revealed the decision made by the grand jury on Tuesday.

During the press conference, Bain stated, “The grand jury considered the testimonies of witnesses, experts, and reviewed other evidence to reach the conclusion that charges should not be filed against the two officers involved in the shooting.” Sheriff Marcos Lopez will provide further details on this development at the press conference, which is scheduled for 10 a.m.

A grand jury was impaneled following a policy change announced by State Attorney Andrew Bain last year. The policy change aimed to have grand juries decide whether criminal charges should be filed against officers involved in the use of force in criminal cases. Bain stated that the Target shooting case would be the first to be presented to a grand jury under the new policy.

The shooting incident at the Target store was triggered by the theft of Pok√©mon cards and a pizza, according to the sheriff’s office. During the incident, 20-year-old Jayden Baez was fatally shot, and Joseph Lowe, Michael Gomez, and a teenager were injured.

The sheriff’s office reported that two detectives, who had been attending a nearby training session, noticed suspicious activity in the Target parking lot. After observing that a black Audi had its license plate concealed, the detectives alerted a loss-prevention officer.

Surveillance footage showed that several unmarked sheriff’s office vehicles surrounded the Audi, with one vehicle appearing to hit the front of the Audi. The charges of theft against Lowe and Gomez were later dropped.

Legal action has been taken against the Osceola County sheriff and the deputies involved in the shooting. A federal lawsuit filed by attorneys Mark NeJame and Albert Yonfa accuses the sheriff’s office of using the suspects as “human guinea pigs” for training exercises.

In summary, a Florida grand jury has decided not to file charges against two deputies involved in the shooting incident at a Target store in Kissimmee. The decision was announced by State Attorney Andrew Bain, and Sheriff Marcos Lopez will provide further details. The incident stemmed from theft at the store and resulted in one fatality and multiple injuries. A policy change prompted the impaneling of the grand jury, and the charges against the suspects involved in the theft were dropped. A federal lawsuit has also been filed against the sheriff’s office in relation to the incident.