Courthouse News Service
May 1, 2013
Police will face a jury trial for firing 137 bullets at the unarmed suspect in a car theft whom they cornered in a parking lot, a federal judge ruled.
In January 2010, Orange County sheriff deputies devised a plan to capture Torey Breedlove, a car theft suspect, in the parking lot of a Florida apartment complex. The officers had spotted a stolen truck parked next to a car that belonged to Breedlove, who had been a suspect in a 2009 auto theft investigation, and waited for Breedlove to return to the apartment building.
Breedlove, who had allegedly escaped from police during the previous investigation, was considered “a flight risk” and “frequently armed,” the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said.
When Breedlove returned to the parking lot and got into his car, several officers approached him with guns drawn, while two other officers blocked his exit with their unmarked cars, according to the complaint filed by Breedlove’s estate. Though Breedlove had a flat front tire and was – in the words of a witness – “trapped like a rat” between a deputy’s truck and the back corner of the parking lot, 10 officers fired 137 shots into his car, killing him, according to the complaint.