ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WALA) - Escambia County Commissioners Gene Valentino and Lumon May visited with Roy Middleton's mother Ceola Walker on Wednesday, July 31 to express their concerns about the recent shooting at her home.
"It was terribly shocking to the Escambia County Commission. In fact, when I heard about it I didn't even know it was in my district. The Walker family will tell you there were about 17 shots. The official report says 15 shots. Thank God only one hit Roy Middleton," Valentino said.
Valentino said the county commissioners were never properly informed by the sheriff's office. He said it raises questions on the level of violence within the county and whether the sheriff's office is properly trained to deal with these situations.
"We were never told a thing by the sheriff's office, and we have a right to know. We have no specific opinion on the investigation or the facts leading to it, but it's a travesty," Valentino said. "We're working very hard to attract businesses to this community, and it sure doesn't look good when the level of violence is on the rise."
Community leaders said they plan to hold a meeting soon to discuss this situation. They said they plan to address an important aspect of keeping the communication open between the public and the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.
FOX10 wanted to know what Sheriff David Morgan felt about Valentino's statements.
"In the last four and a half years, I've had six deputies shot in the line of duty. I've yet to receive a call from Valentino on their condition," said Morgan. "We brief the commission on a whole host of things, but not usually on situations regarding law enforcement because it's not within the purview of their responsibility."
FOX10 wanted to know if Sheriff Morgan believed an innocent man was shot.
"Innocence is a hard term to define in this. Mr. Middleton was engaged in activity that made us believe we had an individual, regardless of color, involved in theft and we react to those in a specific way," Morgan said.
Morgan said he doesn't believe the incident was a fault of his deputies training.
"They're put through role playing, shoot or don't shoot procedures. At this juncture, everything we see is standard police procedure," Morgan said.
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