A Florida sheriff’s deputy fatally shot an 88-year-old man while doing a welfare check at the man’s home on Tuesday, officials said.
A woman called the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday morning after noticing that Ronald Ehrich’s garage was open, and she had not seen him for at least two days, Sheriff Chad Chronister said during a news conferece.
The sheriff said Deputy Anastacia Castillo went to the neighborhood in Riverview and met with the woman before entering Ehrich’s home. She began searching, announcing her presence as she went through the home, the sheriff said.
She went upstairs, knocking on the wall along the way, before starting to check the bedrooms, the sheriff said.
Castillo then heard a man say he was home and armed with a gun. Chronister said the deputy told the man she was there to help him in an attempt to deescalate the situation.
At that point, Ehrich opened the door, and was armed with a handgun. The sheriff said the deputy began to retreat and continued to tell the man who she was and why she was there.
Chronister said the deputy told Ehrich that he was not in any trouble. He said that body cam video even showed that she used her flashlight to try to make sure Elrich could see her uniform.
But he continued advancing toward her before cornering her in a bedroom.
Chronister said Castillo told the man, “Put your gun down. It’s the sheriff’s office, sir.” When he continued to advance toward her, she shot him.
“This is tragic...No other way to put it,” Chronister said.
The sheriff said it would have likely been best for Castillo to have waited for backup before entering the home.
“In her mind, she thought she faced a medical situation, and in her mind, she was going to save a life,” he said.
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