Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputies Cleared in Target Shooting, Grand Jury Decision Stirs Controversy

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – A grand jury in Central Florida has concluded its deliberations on charges against Osceola County Sheriff’s deputies involved in a shooting that resulted in the death of a 21-year-old man. After careful consideration, the grand jury determined that formal charges against the two officers were not legally warranted.

This case marks the first instance of a deadly force incident being presented to a grand jury under the policy implemented by State Attorney Andrew Bain. The policy requires that all law enforcement uses of deadly force be reviewed by a grand jury to assess the appropriateness of criminal charges. By subjecting these incidents to community scrutiny, Bain aims to ensure a fair and consistent approach to the evaluation of use of force cases in Orange County and Osceola County.

The incident in question took place on April 27, 2022, at a Target store in Kissimmee. Detectives from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office were conducting training exercises nearby when they responded to a report of suspicious activity in the store’s parking lot. Deputies observed two individuals wearing masks and hoodies enter the store, prompting them to take action. After the men returned to their vehicle, deputies used their vehicles to block and apprehend them.

In the course of attempting to flee, the driver of the vehicle struck several deputies’ cars. Two deputies responded by firing their weapons multiple times, resulting in three individuals being struck, including Jayden Baez, who tragically lost his life.

State Attorney Bain expressed his condolences and acknowledged the impact this incident has had on the families involved, as well as the broader community. He emphasized the need for the facts to be proven in a court of law and beyond a reasonable doubt, respecting the grand jury’s decision. The new policy also grants the grand jury the opportunity to issue statements regarding policies, procedures, and best practices related to the use of force, but no statement has been released at this time.

In conclusion, a Central Florida grand jury has decided not to formally charge two Osceola County Sheriff’s deputies in relation to a shooting incident at a Target store. The decision was made based on the grand jury’s determination that the use of deadly force by the deputies did not warrant criminal charges. This case highlights the importance of community review in evaluating incidents involving law enforcement’s use of force and ensuring a fair and impartial process.