Sheriff Gregory Tony says when he was 14 years old and living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania he shot and killed a man in self-defense.
“When it enters your home, when it is feet away from you and someone is trying to kill you, that’s when it really resonated I have to do something to get out of this community,” Gregory said.
The incident was brought to light by the online watchdog publication Floridabulldog.org.
The incident took place in 1993, and according to the article stemmed from a verbal altercation between Tony and a man named Hector Rodriguez.
“Hector was out in the community, a verbal argument occurred and he pulled a gun from his waistband and threatened to shoot and kill both of us and I was 14 and my brother couldn’t have been 15, 16 years of age we were frightened to death,” Tony said.
Tony described it as a traumatic incident where in self-defense he protected himself and his brother.
”Took off we ran into a house, he followed us into the home, I grabbed my father’s gun, and fortunately I was able to shoot him before he shot us,” Tony said.
Tony says he went to the police station with his father, and the Pennsylvania judicial system found the shooting was justified.
NBC 6 asked Tony if the incident was ever disclosed on his application with the Coral Springs Police Department where he started his law enforcement career.
“It asked me had I been arrested and the reality of what it is I checked no because I have never been arrested. This process that took place in Pennsylvania under the juvenile justice system, there is a matter of determining if I did anything wrong,” Tony said.
Tony was appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis as Broward County Sheriff early last year, replacing Sheriff Scott Israel.
Tony says the incident was not mentioned during his interview for the position of Sheriff, but he has now discussed it with the Governor.
“The Governor understood. He said, 'look, from a legal standpoint you did what you had to do to survive,' and he encouraged me to stay focused on doing the right thing for this community and not letting political opposition and slandering keep me from safeguarding the nearly 2 million people here,” said Tony.
Tony believes there are political motives behind why the incident has resurfaced. He is one of 11 candidates running for BSO sheriff in the 2020 election.