Thursday, December 14, 2017
Public safety

Attorney for shooter recently cleared in Palm Harbor 'Stand Your Ground' case says his client just wants to move on and be left alone

PALM HARBOR — Seth Browning has never made any public statements since he shot and killed motorist Brandon Baker earlier this year during a brief road rage incident.

Tampa attorney Patrick Leduc said his client plans to keep it that way.

"He wants to be left alone," Leduc said. "He wants to get on with his life."

Browning, a 23-year-old security guard and specialist in the U.S. Army Reserve, was cleared this week of any criminal wrongdoing in the death of Baker, 30, of Palm Harbor.

Assistant State Attorney William Loughery said Browning was justified in his use of deadly force when he shot Baker after a brief roadside encounter early March 6 near East Lake Road. Browning was following Baker to take down his tag number because he said the older man was driving erratically.

Browning was never arrested after the incident as both the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office investigated.

For months, people, including Baker's family, have speculated about the outcome of the "Stand Your Ground" case.

Loughery's memo, released Monday, cited the controversial Florida law, which says people are not required to retreat before using deadly force. But the report also adds that even without that law, Browning still might not have been charged.

Despite witness statements to the contrary, Baker, who was later found to have alcohol and cocaine in his system, "attacked Seth Browning as he sat in his vehicle," Loughery wrote.

Leduc said on Tuesday that his client didn't even have enough time to take his vehicle out of drive before Baker attacked him through the window.

Browning first pepper-sprayed, then shot Baker.

"It's sad that this happened, but Mr. Browning did nothing wrong," Leduc said. "The impression that he was playing wanna-be cop is false. That's not what happened here. … Mr Browning and his family are grateful that this sad and very unfortunate incident appears to now be closed and behind him."

Kameel Stanley can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8643.

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