A Volusia County Sheriff’s deputy shot an unarmed man in the face while serving a drug warrant on Wednesday.
Deputies say Derek Cruice, 26, resisted arrest during the incident at his Deltona, Florida home. Cruice’s friends, six of whom were at the house when a SWAT team entered, called the fatal shooting “murder.”
At 6:32 a.m., Deputy Todd Raible, 36, fired one shot, hitting Cruice in the face as he stood inside the doorway, police told WFTV.
Cruice was pronounced dead a short time later at an area hospital.
“They were met with resistance and a shooting incurred,” Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson told My News 13.
The sheriff’s department confirmed that Cruice was unarmed at the time.
One of the men inside the home, 24-year-old Matthew Grady, contradicted deputies’ claims that Cruice had resisted arrest.
“There’s a couple of seconds between opening the door, walking out, getting to my knee and halfway out there’s gunfire,” Grady told My News 13. “I look back as the guy’s grabbing me, and my friend is dead or dying.”
When asked if Cruice resisted, Grady said: “No.”
Roommate Steven Cochran said Cruice wasn’t wearing a shirt at the time of the shooting, and didn’t pose a threat of carrying a concealed weapon.
“It’s kind of hard to conceal anything or hide anything when this is all you have on,” said Cochran. “They entered the house and fired.”
Raible, a SWAT team member and narcotics investigator with the department for 10 years, reportedly has a clean record. He was placed on administrative leave, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has taken over the investigation. Raible wasn’t injured in the incident, according to the sheriff’s department.
The sheriff’s office allegedly recovered 217 grams of marijuana at the home, along with a scale, pipes, plastic bags and about $3,000 in cash.
Cruice had previously been arrested on misdemeanor drug charges in the past, but was never convicted, WFTV reported.