Family and friends of the man killed by a Broward Sheriff’s County deputy are gathering on Broward Boulevard to release balloons in front of the tire shop where Zy’Shonne Johnson was shot and killed by BSO deputies after a drug sting.
Family members say they want justice for the 23-year-old’s death. They say the shooting was unnecessary.
On Thursday, BSO investigators were in the process of what’s called a “buy bust” or a drug deal exchange involving the suspect.
Officials say they were trying to arrest the man for narcotics and distribution but instead the suspect allegedly sped off in his car, crashing into several other cars, then got out and ran.
Get South Florida local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC South Florida newsletters.
Sheriff Gregory Tony says Johnson was armed and pulled out a gun when officers tried to get him to surrender.
He says deputies were forced to shoot.
“When they were able to pinpoint him and start ordering he turned on the officers with the firearm and that’s when they engaged,” Tony said.
But witnesses questioned whether the shooting was justified, saying Johnson dropped his gun just before he was killed.
“As he was pulling up his pants to run, his gun fell out of his pocket and it was fumbling on the ground,” witness Keden Fuller said. “They were telling him to freeze but the gun was falling on the ground and they shot him.”
The two deputies that fired the shots are now on administrative duties while the investigation into the shooting continues.